IT SEEMED TO ME THAT I COULD SAY LIKE OUR DIVINE MASTER THAT A POWER HAD GONE OUT FROM ME AND I KNEW IT

This Holy Saturday ordination brings me back the memory of the first I had the happiness of doing on the same day in 1833.

In the previous journal entry, Eugene had described the priestly ordination of Charles Bellon, and now he reminisced about the first priestly ordination he had ever performed as a newly-ordained bishop. It is a powerful revelation as to what went on in Eugene as he became God’s instrument of communicating the gift of the priesthood in an ordination. He exclaims: “This miracle is worked in every ordination I perform.”

Can I recall without emotion that the first fruit of my fecundity was the precious Father Casimir Aubert, the first on whom I imposed hands. No one could guess what transpired in my soul when in profound recollection I invoked the sovereign priest Jesus Christ with all the power with which I was invested to bring about this great miracle, and lifted up my hands over the dear head of my well-beloved son and passed on to him a share of that abundance of grace and power of which I had myself received the plenitude some months before.
It seemed to me that together with the Holy Spirit who came down on him and with the power of the Most High who was about to overshadow him, – for one may apply to this divine operation that transforms in a way the soul of the new priest as it makes it fruitful, the words of the angel to the Mother of God, – it seemed to me, I say, that my own spirit communicated itself to him, that my heart expanded in the outpouring of a charity, a supernatural love that produced in its turn something more than human.
It seemed to me that I could say like our divine Master that a power had gone out from me and I knew it. At all events I was in a transport with that very real and wholly-of-God power that I was passing on with force and efficacy and that I could say as it were went out from me, since it was in me radically through the character I possessed, all unworthy though I may be.
This miracle is worked in every ordination I perform and I experience it to a greater or lesser extent according to the quality of those on whom I impose hands, for I confess that paternal love is at work in the very midst of all these marvels, especially when I see my children disposed as I desire. Thanks be to God, it is what I believe I have perceived in the majority of those I have ordained up to now.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 25 March 1837, EO XVIII

Beautiful words that remind us that the priesthood is not a career but a God-given responsibility.

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One Response to IT SEEMED TO ME THAT I COULD SAY LIKE OUR DIVINE MASTER THAT A POWER HAD GONE OUT FROM ME AND I KNEW IT

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    How wonderful for Eugene to be able to experience what he did. In one sense it is something that is experienced by only a small percentage of men – that is the bishops of this world. But it is more than that for Eugene speaks from his heart as father to his sons. He blesses his sons in a most particular way – gives them his benediction.

    This is not something to be measured or compared; it is not limited to one gender or one way of being. We do not look at the love and grace given by God to each of us and measure it, evaluate and compare it to another’s. No – it is something that we share, give away as we are called and sent; from our Baptisms, our Confirmations, and the many steps that we will take in life whether it be as religious, priests, sisters, fathers, mothers, doctors, teachers… The list is endless because it is as each of us is called by God to be.

    Perhaps we all need to celebrate each other as was done by Eugene and the many bishops throughout history. Next weekend as we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, those who serve the many ministries for out parish liturgies will be called to stand before the congregation , recognizing that they are called and sent to serve; the congregation will recognize, bless and celebrate them.

    I think of St. Paul’s letters where he writes of the different parts of the body and the roles they all play together; the Body of Christ. None are less than any other because it is only when they work together that birth into wholeness begins.

    The word ‘vocation’ which comes from the Latin word vocare – that is ‘to call’. God calls us; each of us. We are all called to be a part of the Body of Christ, to be a part of the Family of God, to be members of the Mazenodian Family; more than just titles – these are our choices, promises; how we respond to and live our call.

    To me this morning’s prayer and reflection can be lived and celebrated by all. It is as Frank suggests a God-given responsibility that we accept and joyfully commit our lives to; just as Eugene himself shared.

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