Looking at potential leadership in the Oblates, Eugene identifies the qualities of “being” which result in “doing”: availability, regularity in living by the Rule of Life, detachment and generosity.

But I’m easily upset when I’m faced with men who render themselves unavailable for various positions of trust that I would like to give them, whether because of a lack of virtue or because they don’t give a sufficient assurance of wisdom in their conduct. At the present moment you have two men who could give satisfaction in the most pressing of needs, but what are they like when it comes to regularity, are they living according to the spirit of their holy state of life? Are they detached, available for any task? I sent them to Laus as being an easier way to get them up to the level that every member of the Congregation should achieve. Where are my hopes now? Is it such a difficult thing to be equal to one’s duties? I am saddened in spite of myself when I consider how small some men’s generosity is.
Goodbye, my dear Father Mille, my blessing on you and all the community.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 23 August 1836, EO VIII n 579

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am reminded of the vows, the commitments that each man made – to God, to the Church and to the congregation. None of them could do it on their own and so they joined Eugene’s congregation. The gift of the Spirit was not to be diluted, watered-down or at worst ignored. It was this gift, this charism that they shared which was their chosen way of living and being.

    I think of how ten years earlier Eugene’s Rule of Life was approved and blessed by the Church and how the Church then became the guardian of this expression of the Charism given to him by the Spirit. It is not one or two men who decide what Constitution(s) are to be changed or reworded, dropped or added. I think of how it is never up to the Superior General to on his own make changes to their “Rule of Life” but rather it is the congregation who allows the Spirit to speak to and through each of them to suggest possible changes. None of us make changes on our own whether we be Oblates or other members of the Mazenodian Family.

    I think of Henri Tempier who in his response to Eugene’s invitation to join him in a particular way of life. He said yes and added that even though he was not the greatest of preachers he would do whatever he could to serve and be a part the new community.

    I am reminded of the many “Brothers” in the congregation who have not had the consolation of being able to give the sacraments to the poor, but in their love, how they served the priests in whatever way they were called to, in order to support them and the mission. It is no different for those of us who are lay members of the Mazenodian Family. There is no looking for a ‘softer, easier’ way to live the Rule of Life; rather we respond whole-heartedly to that which we have been invited to be a part of.

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