VISIT FROM MY UNCLE IN MY ROOM IN AN EXTRAORDINARY STATE OF JUBILATION BEARING IN HIS HAND THE ROYAL ORDINANCE THAT NAMES ME BISHOP OF MARSEILLES

Visit from my uncle in my room in an extraordinary state of jubilation bearing in his hand the royal ordinance that names me Bishop of Marseilles consequent upon the resignation that this venerable old man has tendered of his Diocese.

This was the worst news that Eugene could receive. Five years earlier, to save the Diocese of Marseilles from being eliminated by the government, he had agreed to be ordained titular bishop of Icosia without the responsibility of a diocese. (See the article “Icosia” in the Oblate Historical Dictionary https://www.omiworld.org/lemma/icosia-bishop-of/ and chapter 5 of the book by Hubenig and Motte, Living in the Spirit’s Fire https://www.omiworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Living-in-the-Spirits-Fire.pdf) 

My own anxiety must have been in striking contrast with the sentiments my uncle was expressing.
This appointment was his doing, he had succeeded in getting all he wanted, he was happy to see his Diocese safe and confided to a man he judged fitted to continue his episcopate.
But I who have always dreaded the responsibility of a diocese, and who was happily content with my independent position in the Church, I who up to now had been able to plead the necessity of staying by my uncle’s side to avoid the dreaded responsibility of the title of first pastor… I was dumbfounded to see myself as it were caught in the trap…

Eugene’s uncle, Bishop Fortuné, had resigned from his diocese on condition that the Vatican and the King appoint Eugene as his successor. Eugene knew nothing about this “trap” and was dumbfounded and had no choice but to accept it as a manifestation of the will of God. 

The will of God is manifested in a way that cannot be mistaken. And I find myself in a position of not being able to refuse

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 9 April 1837, EO XVIII

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One Response to VISIT FROM MY UNCLE IN MY ROOM IN AN EXTRAORDINARY STATE OF JUBILATION BEARING IN HIS HAND THE ROYAL ORDINANCE THAT NAMES ME BISHOP OF MARSEILLES

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of that vow of Obedience that Eugene had made so many years earlier; he and Henri Tempier making the vow to each other and so before and with God, the Church and his founding community. It is manifested in his words “…I find myself in a position of not being able to refuse.”

    What touches me the deepest is Eugene’s knowledge of himself and his incredible and utterly beautiful and open honesty in his conversations with God. “…I who have always dreaded the responsibility of a diocese […] the dreaded responsibility of the title of first pastor…”

    My eyes fill as I sit here with Eugene this morning – recognizing the poverty in his humanness – in the midst of his holiness – each a part of the other. Eugene shares with God and with all of us his own poverty. This man who courageously dared to say yes to the Spirit’s gift, the charism that he shared with the whole world and became the Founder of the congregation and the Mazenodian Family.

    Eugene modeled himself on the life of Jesus and his apostles; and so I find myself reflecting on the poverty of Jesus, Son of God – fully human. I ponder his poverty in the Garden and with his crucifixion. The Cross. I am surprised as I find myself led by Jesus, wanting as did Eugene, to model my life on that of our crucified Saviour. That God should love me so; that God should love us so.

    The will of God is manifested in a way that did not allow Eugene to say no; and we find ourselves in positions of not being able to refuse our Beloved. Just as we celebrate Eugene, today we celebrate another Oblate who has died after a long life of giving himself, living out his Oblation. His time of waiting has ended and he has arrived home safely. Larry we will miss you even as we continue to hold you in our hearts.

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