REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE SENT TO SINNERS, AND YOU MUST EXPECT RESISTANCE FROM THE DEVIL

Yesterday we read Eugene’s reaction in his personal journal to the incident where Father Guigues had received opposition from some young people. Today we read Eugene’s response to him which reasserts the pastoral attitude which he expected all the members of his religious family to have.

I have just received your letter of the 15th and I am leaving aside everything to reply to it. May God save you, my dear friend, from refusing Communion to those, who, being guilty of the mischief which you mention to me, have been repentant. You yourself admit that they were only carried along by their exuberance and not at all by hostile intention. Oh! you are sent by God to forgive greater sins than theirs and even greater scandals than the one they may have given by their thoughtlessness. Once they had been reconciled, it was your duty to admit them to the Holy Table…
Remember that you are sent to sinners, and even to hardened sinners. You must expect resistance from the devil; he will not easily let go of his prey. This resistance manifests itself now in one way, and now in another. Jesus Christ is always the victor, “Christus vincit.” He demands sacrifices, “Christus imperat.” He establishes his reign in souls, “Christus regnat.” This is all that we desire, this is the result of and compensation for our labours.

Letter to Bruno Guigues, 20 February 1837, EO IX n 605

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One Response to REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE SENT TO SINNERS, AND YOU MUST EXPECT RESISTANCE FROM THE DEVIL

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It is uncomfortable to sit here this morning as Eugene reminds us of how there is resistance from the devil, not just with the other but also within me.

    It is always easier to think that the devil is around – for the really big sins. But the devil is clever and hides behind the masks of the little all-too-human thoughts and actions that cause us to not only strike out against another, but also to retaliate in ways small (and big) to what we perceive to be wrongs.

    And it not something that only the ‘priest in confession’ has to concern himself with; for I believe it can and must concern each and every one of us in our daily lives.

    To recognize that we are all sent to sinners – to love – to forgive – to sit with… I believe we are all sent to each other. I am reminded of what I said this past weekend as I gave my reflections on the scriptures. “I always ask God to have mercy on us – on myself and the other; that is I ask God to love us and the forgiveness is held within that love.” This morning those words take on a different hue.

    Through his letters and notes (and in this place here) Eugene speaks to each one of us – not just his sons who are vowed Oblates but to all of us who are members of his Mazenodian Family. It is not just the others who are poor and sinners – I need not look any further than myself. “We are sent to evangelize the poor: the poor are evangelized.” It is never just “them” for in being sent ourselves we too are evangelized.

    “We will let our lives be enriched by the poor and the marginalized as we work with them, for they can make us hear in new ways the Gospel we proclaim.” This is real and lived.

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