THE PRACTICE OF THE DUTIES THAT YOU ONCE VOWED FREELY AND FOR EVER TO THE LORD

Eugene continues his letter to Father Rossi, in which he tries to be a mirror to his conscience to wake him up to the responsibilities to which he has publicly committed himself.

While waiting for more ample information, which you will give me by letter, I authorize you to stay where you are. But understand clearly that my authorization is based on the extreme need of your father and mother which I presume cannot be remedied without the help that your work furnishes them…

Eugene gives him checkpoints to use to evaluate his lifestyle and religious life.

 This means that you must write from time to time with a report on how you are getting on and for spiritual direction. You must give an account of what you are doing, whether you have employment that is decent and entails no risk for your soul, what you earn, what you give to your parents, what are the observances from which you judge your present and temporary situation entitles you to ask for a dispensation.
In other words write like someone who is deeply committed to his duties of state and in such a way as to make it evident that it really is by virtue of a kind of overriding power against your will, that you are obliged to make use of a permission that takes you outside the way of life that is yours providentially, and the practice of the duties that you once vowed freely and for ever to the Lord.
Goodbye, my dear Father Rossi. I hope that you will recognize in everything I’ve said the solicitude of a father who loves you.

Letter to Father Joseph Rossi, 12 February 1835, EO VIII n 505

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One Response to THE PRACTICE OF THE DUTIES THAT YOU ONCE VOWED FREELY AND FOR EVER TO THE LORD

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I began this morning by reading the short account of Fr. Joseph Rossi in the Historical. After reading it I was filled with a sadness for both Rossi and for the other members of the Oblate Family.

    “In other words write like someone who is deeply committed to his duties of state and in such a way as to make it evident that it really is by virtue of a kind of overriding power against your will, that you are obliged to make use of a permission that takes you outside the way of life that is yours providentially, and the practice of the duties that you once vowed freely and for ever to the Lord.”

    Live as a member of this family is what Eugene seems to be saying as he spoke to Rossi who he considered to be one of his sons. I think for a moment of the 10 Commandments given to Moses and then of Jesus with his commandment to love one another.

    Then Eugene and his founding community with the Constitutions and Rules of how each member of the congregation is to live. This was not an occasion to live as one person wanted but rather in a healthy way that deepen life and share that with those who saw him.

    “We must lead men to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints.” I don’t believe this was just for the poor who the Oblates served but also for themselves.

    Those Constitutions and Rules have been shared with those of us members of the Mazenodian Family who wish to enter more deeply into the Mazenodian way of living. We are not bound by them, however I am here to state that if we try to live them as they apply to us who are not vowed members of the congregation, we will become free rather than restricted or controlled.

    I take Eugene’s words to heart: “Goodbye, my dear Eleanor. I hope that you will recognize in everything I’ve said the solicitude of a father who loves you.”

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