Letter from Father Guigues. The Theys mission that he is currently giving, with his colleagues from the house of N. D. de l’Osier, is going wonderfully. The missionaries are in the confessional from morning to evening.

They have it is true had the disagreeable experience of seeing some very badly disposed bourgeois families indulging in giving scandal, creating a kind of provocative uproar, but public indignation and the missionaries’ silence soon settled that, … and several of the youth who had let themselves be influenced presented themselves for confession.
On this point, Father Guigues asks me if it would not be proper to refuse outright giving communion to these young people whom he admits were seduced into going to that unseemly event and had no hostile design.
… May God grant that this unhappy idea, due to inexperience, won’t have led the missionaries to receive these sinners coldly, when they should be welcomed with the most moving kindness, first to console them in doing something which is always difficult to nature, and also to enable them to encourage others who still hesitate.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 19 February 1837, EO XVIII

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “Sinners should be welcomed with the most moving kindness”. There is within these few words the most beautiful invitation into tenderness – this is how Jesus himself greets and invites us into his embrace; without judgement or condemnation. Jesus opens his arms, his heart to each of us, no matter why or where we come from.

    It matters not if it is the first time we enter into his embrace, or the 91 first time; and if we are asked to turn and model ourselves on that love as did Eugene – that is the miracle of loving the poor.

    This has been my experience of the sacrament of Confession. It is Jesus who invites us in his embrace without scorn or derision, without any signs of condemnation; for it is through this sacrament we enter into the very heart of our crucified Saviour.

    I sit here this morning with tears of wonderment and joy as my heart sings over and over again:

    Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs.
    Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.
    And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me,
    blessed, blessed are you!
    Be not afraid.
    I go before you always;
    Come follow me,
    and I will give you rest.

    Eugene’s heart, filled by the immense love allows his being to become shaped and transformed; it is in this manner that we are called to open ourselves and treat all we meet with tender and moving kindness.

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