IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE RULE SHOULD MAKE A BIG IMPRESSION

As the novices prepare for their first retreat, it is in the light of the Rule that their vocation has to be presented. The house superior was to be the retreat preacher.

What I want is that in retreat talks, especially in the novitiate, there should be frequent and textual citation of the words of our Rules, both to form the attitude of respect that each of us owes them and for there to be a clear understanding that that is the code that lays down our duties.
It is the first general retreat in which our new men have participated, it is important that it should make a big impression on them: make it your concern to achieve this happy result.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 21 October 1834, EO VIII n 494

Eugene repeats this important prescription to the novice master too:

…I have written to Father Courtès that I want the one who gives the talks to base himself largely on the text of our Rules which he is to cite as the Code of the Congregation. This method builds up respect for these Rules and is a better way of inculcating the precepts contained in them.

Letter to Casimir Aubert, 21 October 1834, EO VIII n. 495

The Constitutions and Rules remain for all of us today the light which guides our Mazenodian vocation in whichever state of life we are called to live it.

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One Response to IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE RULE SHOULD MAKE A BIG IMPRESSION

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    One of the first things that I was introduced to back when I joined AA was the 12 Steps; sober members would sit with me and share what their life had looked like during their drinking career and what it was like to live in the light of those 12 Steps. I slowly learned how to take them in and make them a part of me; allowing me to yes survive but even more to fully live.

    “The Constitutions and Rules remain for all of us today the light which guides our Mazenodian vocation in whichever state of life we are called to live it.” One would think that with words like ‘constitutions’ and ‘rules’ that they would be onerous, limiting and full of ‘thou shalt nots’ but that has proved not to be the case – in trying to live them I have been introduced to a new kind of freedom – they are a light which banishes the shadowed questions and fears that can fill and dictate our lives.

    I would love to be able to say that each morning I start out by reading a constitution from my small green book with only the letters “O.M.I.” on the front cover. Alas that is not the case, and although they are one of the first things I see as I begin my morning prayer I am not always able to open them at that time. But my fidelity and commitment in trying to make them a part of me has helped me as I go about my daily life. I am always a little surprised at how they find their way into my thoughts and words, into my writings and into how I love others. They have become a part of the ‘glue’ that holds me, my life, together.

    Like those 12 Steps of AA they are becoming a part of me, of who I am – their light mingling with mine. That is the true freedom and joy that comes from living as we are called.
    I think for a moment of the section on ‘Formation’ and in particular Constitution 48: “Oblate formation takes place in the context of an apostolic community. We are all involved in a process of mutual evangelization, supporting one another in a healing and empowering way. Together we create an atmosphere of freedom and mutual trust in which we call each other to an even deeper commitment.”

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