… we pronounced our vows with an indescribable joy. We savoured 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

Reading Eugene’s description of the Holy Thursday night of their vows one is able to sense the beauty of the gesture of oblation and its importance for him. As he speaks of the joy and the hours spent savoring the depth of the moment, it is an experience of intimacy with Jesus in his Eucharistic presence that he refers to in other writings. In 1830 for example he wrote to Henri Tempier:

This morning, before communion, I dared to speak to this good Master with the same freedom that I would have had if I had had the happiness to live when he walked on earth, and if I had found myself in the same predicament. I said Mass in a particular chapel, I was not impeded by anyone’s presence. I exposed to him our needs, asked his light and his assistance, and then I surrendered myself entirely to him, wishing absolutely nothing else than his holy will. I took communion in this disposition. As soon as I had taken the precious blood, it was impossible for me to withstand such an abundance of interior consolations…

Letter to Henri Tempier, 23 August 1830, O.W. VII n. 359

Meditating on the first Holy Thursday celebration of the Missionaries makes me think of the prayer of Jesus at the last supper where he invited the apostles to communion with his Father: “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26) In the spirit of Jesus’ promise on the first Holy Thursday in Jerusalem: “Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete” (John 16:24) – we can understand something of the fullness of joy experienced on Holy Thursday 1816 in Aix en Provence, which can be ours today.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This morning as I am led to reflect on my own experiences of intimacy with Jesus in his Eucharistic presence. I find myself singing: “…we remember how you loved us, to your death; and still we celebrate for you are with us now. And we believe that we will see you, when you come in your glory Lord. We remember, we celebrate, we believe”.

    The invitation to be “in communion with”; a deeper sense of what these words carry for me. Yesterday I stopped and sat before the Blessed Sacrament for a few moments – simply to be in communion with, in the presence of the Beloved – not for a special reason but just to be with Him who is love.

    So what will my oblation look like today? I think for a moment of the many university students who are writing exams – of the people who must work today – of those who will undergo medical procedures and of the healthcare workers that will be there to care for them – the many who will take a moment or an instant when they can to celebrate the joy that is theirs today. As I sit here this morning with this invitation to enter into the intimacy and joy arising from my Oblation I become once again aware of my life is a taking part in something that is so much greater than myself.

    Today and tonight will be a renewal of my Oblation to God, to the Church, to all the members of the Mazenodian Family. A whole new light shines upon this most Holy Thursday as we each in our own way enter into the invitation of sharing that joy experienced by Eugene and Henri Tempier on their 1816 Holy Thursday.

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