IF ONE IS GOING TO GET INVOLVED AT ALL, IT MUST BE IN AN EFFECTIVE WAY

When the requests for a mission season came in, they were put together and Eugene and the Oblates evaluated them and made decisions on how to proceed.

What emerges clearly from this letter is that the method of the Oblate missionaries was not one of superficial preaching, but of an in-depth approach of taking over a village for several weeks ion order to achieve lasting results. (See http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=367 for further details)

My dear Courtès. I did manage to get our men together to plan the assignments for the various missions that we have been asked to do. The outcome of our meeting was that we shouldn’t hesitate to give preference to missions over retreats. Also that the Peynier[1] mission must be determined, since the Pastor requests it, but that it isn’t opportune to offer the retreat at Fontvieille in as much as such an exercise given by only two missionaries over a fortnight would have only shallow results in a population of some two thousand five hundred. If one is going to get involved at all, it must be in an effective way, and the thing is impossible as conceived by the pastor of Fontvieille. If the old fellow has given you an answer in the meantime, you can tell him without hesitation that you approached me on the matter and I refused to release missionaries for a simple retreat. To achieve anything in such a tough area at least three missionaries are needed on a four-week mission. He can take it or leave it.
The Auriol mission was wonderful, our men worked like Trojans but are ready to get back to work.
Goodbye, my very dear friend.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 3 February 1835, EO VIII n 504

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to IF ONE IS GOING TO GET INVOLVED AT ALL, IT MUST BE IN AN EFFECTIVE WAY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Eugene did not simply make this decision on his own (“I did manage to get our men together to plan the assignments for the various missions that we have been asked to do.”) The gift of the charism had been given to Eugene, which he then shared with the others; still they gathered together to look at what they could do and what would work best in the light of their mission. I dare to say it was done in a spirit of communion.

    How can one make a good cup of tea if the tea is dipped into the hot water for only a second or two and then removed? Or if there is too little tea to go around that only two grains are added to a pot of water. The tea has to steep, the water must become infused and imbued with the properties of the tea in order for there to be the true and full taste.

    I think of St. Paul after he was struck from his horse and met Jesus. He did not immediately get back on his horse and start to go and preach. No he was taken to a community and there he was taught, and cared for. His spirituality grew in depth – one small step at a time. And even when he set out to preach it was always one step at a time. He was being immersed in the Spirit.

    This is what Eugene wanted for the people – that they might become immersed in God, in a life with God; and that was not just for a few but that they might share it with their families and neighbours, and support each other in it. Community would be born.

    It had to be a full package or none at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *