Eugene’s constantly repeated reminder: the success of any pastoral action depends on the quality of one’s relationship with God – otherwise we are mere functionaries and not disciples.

 I recommend you take it upon yourself to see that regularity is observed: oraison, examination of conscience, etc. Do not be men totally involved in exterior activities: let people not get the idea that you have no more than the prayer habits normal for a good priest. Such dissipation causes very great harm.
… Do not forget that you are missionaries by profession, and consequently you have a Rule to observe during missions which is proper for that period, foreseen beforehand, already lived out, in a word, familiar to each one of you. This applies also to your behaviour which must be serious and reserved.
…In a word, act in such manner as not only to do much good but also to leave behind you a true impression of sanctity. Otherwise people will say that you are only doing your job. You must be absolutely men of God, work only for God, walk unceasingly in his presence, edify from morning till night all those who deal with you or who surround you.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 20 January 1837, EO IX n 603

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    There is enough here in these few words from Eugene to lead us in reflection for the next week.

    I am reminded this morning of the words from the Preface, words that when I first heard them seemed to leap up and out of the pages of the Rule and then settled in my heart: “We must lead men [and women] to act like human beings, first of all, and then like Christians, and, finally, we must help them to become saints.” Truly – all that I had ever wanted!

    Eugene’s comment of having a “Rule” to live by – a Rule of Life. Not something that builds invisible walls and constraints around us but rather something that reminds and helps us to live in the freedom of God’s love. Then from the last paragraph of The Preface: “…resolve to obey the following Constitutions and Rules: by living them they hope to obtain all the benefits they need for their own sanctification and for the salvation of souls.”

    I am reminded of Salvador Dali’s “Christ of Saint John of the Cross” painting; I have always looked at that with the view of looking up from the earth; looking up, into and through the eyes of our crucified Saviour – through the eyes of most perfect love. This then is how we will be to learn and grow into our own sanctification as well as that of the others we are sent to love and serve.

    Indeed we are not functionaries, this is not our ‘job’ but rather it is how we have been called to ‘be’. This is our ‘fiat’, our ‘oblation’; to God, to the Church and to each other. Not just something for religious, but rather for all of us who are called and take our place as members of the Mazenodian Family.

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