ALL I ASK IN THESE PAINFUL AND PERPLEXING CIRCUMSTANCES IS THAT THE PILOT BE IN CHARGE DURING THE STORM AND THAT THE CREW OBEY

In the crisis of personnel, Eugene was forced to make changes and assign Oblates to different places. Father Casimir Aubert, the novice master, had had to leave Laus to go to Aix. Now he was being asked to change yet again, and he was not happy.

The sudden death of Father Pons, whose absence will always be felt, and the blameworthy departure of Father Pachiaudi, place me in the necessity of calling you to the major seminary at Marseilles. In consequence the novitiate will follow you to Marseilles. It is not through mere flightiness that I am changing the project in this way; but who can cope with completely unforeseeable events? Who can offer resistance to the very power of God?

Eugene as the pilot of the ship had to make decisions in the face of the storm, and he asks Father Aubert, as a crew member, to fit in with the plans of divine providence.

The ways of Providence are a deep mystery to me. Our part is to submit ourselves to whatever they bring that is hard or painful, without ever being disconcerted, even when they pitch us into situations of great difficulty. When we cannot proceed under full sail, then we must resort to tacking and make progress with sails trimmed, even down to the smallest sail that is raised on the mast-head and called the topgallant sail. All I ask in these painful and perplexing circumstances is that the pilot be in charge during the storm, that the crew obey in silence and that I be spared complaints that are out of place in a crisis when each one must carry out his task as best as he may in the post assigned to him.

Letter to Casimir Aubert, 26 September 1836, EO VIII n 590

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One Response to ALL I ASK IN THESE PAINFUL AND PERPLEXING CIRCUMSTANCES IS THAT THE PILOT BE IN CHARGE DURING THE STORM AND THAT THE CREW OBEY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    We have all experienced what the death of a loved one does to the family, the community, just as we have experienced a loved one quitting and leaving the community (being blameworthy or not). Rather than the tapestry of our lives showing a small hole that is filled immediately with threads springing back into place as if there had never been a change, we discover a huge tear in the fabric which if left threatens all of the threads in the tapestry with becoming unraveled. And some of the threads may feel the need seem to tighten and pull away from each other – in a self-protecting way.

    It is then that the Master Weaver and his/her assistants must go about stretching some threads and pulling others in altered or new directions to try and fill the hole in the tapestry so that we can again become a living tapestry rather than dying one.

    That seems to be the story of our lives – how changes occur that cause more than a little sorrow and that we must be open and flexible enough to allow us to adapt to the changes. I stop for a moment and look at how in some ways this is the story of our lives, the living story of our community, the living response our oblation and living out of our mission. This is how we are stretched.

    As for the ‘silent obedience’ that Eugene asks for – I laugh a little at that part. I have a friend who says that she is still learning what it means to be silent in a silent retreat and my response is always one of a loving vocal giggle; although I know how to be silent on a retreat there is within me an uncontrollable urge to grumble about the silence and then give her a hug and share at least a word or two.

    This is the stuff of real life. St. Eugene pray for me.

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