MY CAREER IS OVER; I HAVE NEITHER THE STRENGTH NOR THE FLEXIBILITY TO EMBARK ON ANOTHER

Recoiling from the suggestion that he accept to be bishop of a diocese, Eugene appeals to two arguments: he no longer has the energy to administer a diocese, and that he has the responsibility of Superior General of the Oblates.

Clearly your friendship is leading you astray in your hope of making peace all round through the use of a method that would be disastrous for me. My career is over; I have neither the strength nor the flexibility to embark on another where it wouldn’t be long before I were submerged in every kind of sorrow, compensated by precious few consolations.
All my reflections lead me to the conclusion that I cannot in conscience accept a diocese if one were offered me. What a following I would have gathered if I offered the least hint to the contrary! This conviction is so rooted in me that nothing short of a formal command from the Head of the Church would suffice to overcome my justifiable distaste, and then I would be condemned to a most unhappy life, and one which would certainly be cut short on account of the continual violence that I would have to do to myself. To this repugnance are added reasons of conscience which ought to distance me from any diocese, which would necessarily entail a double responsibility for me.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 23 August 1835, EO VIII n 536

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One Response to MY CAREER IS OVER; I HAVE NEITHER THE STRENGTH NOR THE FLEXIBILITY TO EMBARK ON ANOTHER

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    My goodness but Eugene is strong willed! But he has had to let go of so much over the years. Having withstood many trials and challenges that presented themselves before him he has lived his oblation in more ways than I can count. Eugene seems though to be ‘digging in his heels’ on this request which came from the king through Guibert and from Tempier – perhaps his closest friend.

    I had a friend who I first met not long after coming to Ottawa and who died about 10 years ago – but it was to him that turned to ask who I could speak with when I decided that I want to learn more about this “St. Eugene de Mazenod” that the Oblates spoke of. He and I talked often about many things over the years but it was when I was tired and upset with others, or the ‘way things were’ that he would listen and then he would approach me and say “Eleanor I think you are down a hug or two” and when I let him he would hug me. There were times when I was inconsolable or when I was not quite ready to let go of whatever I was holding onto with a grip that rivalled any vice-grip. Then he would tell me that I would have to just ‘let go’ of that which I grasped so tightly.

    I am reminded of my friend this morning as I listen to Eugene trying to ‘hold on’ with the very man he had made his vow of obedience to – and I am reminded of myself and others I have met along the way. As I look back I realize that God finds a way to hug each of us as we struggle. Some of our wounds are deeper than others; but we simply need to let go of that which we arm ourselves with so that we can run into that all-loving embrace.

    I am not sure this morning if I am reminding Eugene or myself that a hug is coming.

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