THIS RELENTLESS APPLICATION TO WORKS OF THE EXTERIOR MINISTRY IS ABSOLUTELY AGAINST THE RULES

In our hectic multimedia and multi-tasking lifestyle, we need to hear the call of Eugene to an equilibrium activity and spirituality.

It disturbs me to see you overloading yourself with engagements; I don’t at all approve of that way of doing things, it has the two-fold disadvantage of leaving your men worn out and of keeping them overlong outside the house. This relentless application to works of the exterior ministry is absolutely against the Rules.

Eugene reminds the young superior of the need for equilibrium between missionary zeal and religious life, between “doing and “being”

Let us put aside every consideration of too human origin… beware of driving yourself as if it were a challenge. In God’s name, go back to the bosom of the community to renew yourselves in the spirit of your vocation, otherwise it is all up with our missionaries, they will soon be no more than sounding cymbals.

The community leader had two important tools at his disposal to achieve this. The first was the Oblate Rule which was an objective norm that all were committed to. The second was the weekly “theological conference” which was usually a reading in community of a religious  book aimed at the spiritual growth of the community..

The responsibility falls on you, it is my duty to alert you to it. Hold fast to the observance of the Rules, amongst other things, be faithful to the theological conference, remember that this is obligatory.

Letter to Bruno Guigues, 27 May 1835, EO VIII n 516

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One Response to THIS RELENTLESS APPLICATION TO WORKS OF THE EXTERIOR MINISTRY IS ABSOLUTELY AGAINST THE RULES

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Gosh – maybe we are all prey at one time or another to temptations like the one Eugene writes about to Fr. Guigues who was superior and pastor of Notre Dame de l’Osier, trying to restore a place of pilgrimage, preaching retreats in the Grenoble and Valence dioceses and spending time working with a Catholic newspaper.

    Eugene wants to ensure that Fr. Guigues does not spread himself to thin and so lessen the essence of his Mission. Eugene is ‘reigning him in’ so to speak and reminding him how to go back to the basics.

    “In God’s name, go back to the bosom of the community” [which is where we have been called to ‘be and do’ in-and-with-and through] so as “to renew yourselves in the spirit of your vocation [the Oblate Rule of Life], otherwise it is all up with our missionaries, they will soon be no more than sounding cymbals.”

    A little more than 10 years later Fr. Guigues would be made Bishop of Bytown (now called Ottawa, the capital of Canada) and his duties would become more encompassing. He was entrusted with looking after a flock that was much larger than just a few Oblates for it encompassed all who were in his diocese. To continue to be able to do that well he would have had to continue to observe the Rules (CC&RR) and be faithful to the ‘theological conference’.

    I think of a recent communication from my professor on how I am trying to pull too much into one project. I will not be able to do it justice if I try to encompass too much. I must go back to the beginning, narrow it down (again) and then work at it with what I have at hand, rather than trying to read every single thing ever written on my chosen subject. I cannot allow my zeal, my passion to run amok.

    What am I being called to today? What does this look like within the larger shared mission as a member of the Mazenodian Family? So today again I will return to basics. I dare not leave it until Monday for it would be too easy for me to get caught up once again in taking on too much.

    There are many times in my life where I find myself so very grateful for having all these guidelines and support – this is one of them.

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