LIVING HOLY WEEK WITH SAINT EUGENE: HOLY THURSDAY AND THE INVITATION TO OUR UPPER ROOM

After his unhappy experience of the Holy Thursday liturgy at the Royal Palace he wrote to his community that he was united with them

when, for consolation, I took myself in spirit to that room that truly resembles the Cenacle where the disciples, prepared by the lessons they constantly receive in the Society, imbued with the spirit of the Savior who lives in them,
gather in the name of their Master to represent the apostles of whom Jesus Christ could say vos mundi estis [ed John 13,10 ”and you are clean”],
and wait silently and devoutly for the representative of the Master amongst them, at the word of commandment of the Lord, mandatum [ed. the command to love one another], to kneel at their feet,
washing and touching these feet blessed and commanded several thousand years previously by the prophet so as to be feet of evangelizers of good [ed. Isaiah 52,7 “How beautiful are the feet of the messenger who brings good news”], of preachers of peace,
touching, I say, respectfully his lips to these feet whereupon flames dart from his heart and envelope it as from a fount of living water which refreshes and spurts forth wherever eyes are turned.
What emotion! What sentiments! What fervor!

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 27 March 1823, EO VI n 98

In this poetic way Eugene describes once again the model of Jesus in the midst of his disciples to form them, to teach them in word and action, and then fill them with zeal to go out and be his missionaries. During this Holy Week, we are invited to the Upper Room of our lives to be formed in a special way through our participation in the Paschal Mystery.

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3 Responses to LIVING HOLY WEEK WITH SAINT EUGENE: HOLY THURSDAY AND THE INVITATION TO OUR UPPER ROOM

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    My experience here this morning is not what I expected. I have found myself non-responsive to the words of Eugene with which I am unable to connect. Panic wants to step in so I turn back to the words that Frank has written, asking the Spirit to lead me with words that are easier for my being to grasp.

    “…the model of Jesus in the midst of his disciples to form them, to teach them in word and action, and then fill them with zeal to go out and be his missionaries. During this Holy Week, we are invited to the Upper Room of our lives to be formed in a special way through our participation in the Paschal Mystery.”

    In the past I have been able to serve the members of my community in taking part in the foot-washing on Holy Thursday. A small service to those I love, but this year I am unable to get down to the floor and perform that small act of love. How then shall I wash the feet of those I love? And the thought comes to me that I must allow them to serve me and accept their love of me even though I cannot reciprocate in the manner that I am used to. It am humbled simply thinking about it.

    Sitting here in my room as the dawn slowly approaches my heart lightens with thoughts of the 2nd example of Eucharist. Again I am the one receiving – that greatest of gifts. I tremble as I think of it for my focus has changed a little and radically; I wonder why it is only now that I am struck in this way.

    There is an enormity of the Paschal Mystery and the way that I am looking at entering into and participating is different and it involves much more ‘being than doing’. I feel a little uncomfortable with it and so pray for the courage to continue to sit in this discomfort as I prepare also to continue to stand at the foot of the cross.

  2. Kirk says:

    Many thanks Frank for the inspirational sharing this morning. Yes, you reminded me of how Eugene and his first companions modelled their lifestyle on the first Apostles and Christians. They lived the nucleus of the Gospel reality. Having had the privilege of being in where tradition says is the ‘Upper room’, Jerusalem twice.. its a reminder of a deeper call to follow amidst daily trials and tribulations of mind, body, spirit. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your thoughts Eleanor.

  3. Martin mwirigi says:

    Yes this the holy leading towards the day Eugene changed his life direction. Reflecting on how many can change the directions of their life in my parish by instructing them on the catholic catechism.

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