WOULD THERE BE ANYTHING SACRED ON THIS EARTH IF VOWS MADE BEFORE JESUS CHRIST DO NOT EXPRESS WHAT THEY SIGNIFY?

In 1836 and early 1837 some Oblates had either left or had had to be expelled from the small Congregation. Each one was a cause of suffering for Eugene and the Oblates

In the midst of the consolations I experience at the sight of the good done by our small group, I have the grief of seeing the devil screening us, and that among the grain shaken in the sieve there are some kernels that are lean and shrivelled enough to pass through and thus be removed from the threshing floor of the common Father. What disastrous illusions there are in this matter! I will protest before all and before God against these apostasies till my last breath and beyond, for it is before the judgment seat of God that I summon all those who are guilty of it.

He then reflects on oblation as a permanent commitment

There are some religious who dare to say that they had made their oblation only with the idea of quitting the Congregation someday. What a horror! Let them study theology. They will learn that it is not allowed to place any condition, any mental restriction in making vows, and the formula of oblation pronounced verbally must be made seriously and from the bottom of the heart. Otherwise, it would only be a lie, hypocrisy, the profanation of a holy and religious act.
Are we allowed to play games with God and with people, to consider an act made in the presence of Jesus Christ at the holy altar as only a vain and laughable ceremony? Would there be anything sacred on this earth if vows, that is, oaths made before Jesus Christ and accepted by the Church in his name, do not express what they signify? I cannot make head or tail out of this ….

Letter to Joseph Martin, 9 January 1837, EO IX n 600

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One Response to WOULD THERE BE ANYTHING SACRED ON THIS EARTH IF VOWS MADE BEFORE JESUS CHRIST DO NOT EXPRESS WHAT THEY SIGNIFY?

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Isn’t it strange how we think that we can play such games with God – simply because God is God and so must forgive us. Children play that game with their friends and their parents – it’s how they discover and realize what it is to be loved. I think of how Eugene truly loved his ‘sons’, each and every one of them and how much it hurt him when they turned away, discarded their promises, their oblations. He simply could not understand how another could go back on their vows. And my mind flies to God who simply continues to love.

    The word perseverance has crept into my mind this morning and it will not leave. But it is not perseverance for its own sake – rather it is perseverance that becomes our mantle in the midst of ongoing and ever-growing storms within us as our fidelity is seemingly tested.

    Our ‘oblation’ must be more than just a ‘waiting room’ where we sit until something better comes and along and offers itself to us; if we play that game then I doubt that we will ever be truly happy or that we will ever be able to realise the immense love and joy that we have been searching for and waiting to bloom.

    The Cross – always calling to us, always inviting us to enter even more deeply into its mysteries. The Cross taking her place in the midst of perseverance.

    There are some storms which we cannot escape – we simply need to ‘ride-out’ until the storm passes over. This is what Eugene’s life has been about. So completely had he given his heart that he is unable to fathom those who go against their promises.

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