LIVING HOLY WEEK WITH SAINT EUGENE: HOLY THURSDAY AS AN INVITATION TO RENEW OUR “YES” TO GOD

Briefly put. Father Tempier and I felt that we should not delay any longer, and on Holy Thursday (April 11, 1816), when both of us had taken our place under the structure of the beautiful repository we had erected over the main altar of the Mission church, in the night of that holy day, we pronounced our vows with an indescribable joy. We enjoyed our happiness throughout this beautiful night, in the presence of Our Lord, at the foot of the magnificent throne where we had placed Him for the Mass of the Pre-sanctified the following day.

Rambert I, p. 187

Eugene and Henri Tempier, being like –minded on the necessity for a formal commitment to God and to each other for the sake of mission, made private vows. Eugene does not tell us the precise content of these vows but it seems, from the context and from later events, that they were focused on obedience to God and to each other in the pursuit of living everyday life in communion with God.

Eugene’s description of the context is important. It is Holy Thursday and the time of prayer at the “Altar of Repose” (where the Eucharist is kept for distribution at the Good Friday service, which was known as the “Mass of the Pre-sanctified” at that time). This time of reflection recalled the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane at prayer while struggling to live the events taking place in full communion with the Father at that moment. The “not what I want, but what you want” (Mark 14:36) of Jesus to the Father became the commitment to the “not what I want, but what you want” of Eugene and Henri Tempier to the Father – and consequently the key to understanding the meaning of oblation.

During this Holy Week, may each of us be able to say in a deeper way: “not what I want, but what You want.”

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One Response to LIVING HOLY WEEK WITH SAINT EUGENE: HOLY THURSDAY AS AN INVITATION TO RENEW OUR “YES” TO GOD

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I consider Eugene and Henri Tempier and their ‘yes’ to God and each other, Thinking of Jesus and a few of his disciples going into the Garden following what we now call the “Last Supper”. Jesus leading the way, inviting his companions to join him in prayer. Eugene and Henri Tempier doing no less on that Holy Thursday of April 11, 1816. It was the two of them at that point and I am reminded of how our fears can hold us back from doing and being who we have been invited to become.

    Holy Thursday, an invitation to all members who make up the Mazenodian Family to renew our ‘yes’ to God.

    Remembering what I wrote yesterday – how I was silently saying “nope – this isn’t what I want, don’t want to have to do it this new way – I want things to be like they were before – not what I signed up for…” It does not matter what it looks like, or what my status is. Eugene and Henri Tempier did not stop to measure what others would or would not do – they responded to what God was inviting them to.

    Again I think of Jesus in the Garden, struggling, suffering and then finally surrendering to what was to come. I have on my wall a small ink sketch by Walter Deck which is titled “Take me”. It is of an indigenous man with his arms outstretched and below his waist are thorn branches. It has always reminded me of Good Friday and yet it is also for today. Looking upon this drawing of ‘surrender’ I find myself wanting to respond ever more deeply and wholly and say “not what I want Lord, but what You want”.

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