HERE WE ARE IN AN EARTHLY PARADISE

As he launched the new Oblate mission at Lumières, Eugene was exultant as he considered God’s goodness to the Missionary Oblates: ten missionary foundations in 20 years, all communities from which to go out and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ the Savior.

Here we are in an earthly paradise. Nothing is so beautiful as the church that is built on the miraculous shrine of the Blessed Virgin. It is incomparably the best we have… I do not know of any other Society which in our time has been favoured in a similar manner, and it is with a handful of men that these things are done in times that are bad.

Letter to Casimir Aubert, 3 June 1837, EO IX n 622

He described in his Journal the prayer of taking possession of the shrine and how this fulfilled the task that the Pope had charged the Missionaries with in 1826.

This house, that I was placing at this moment specially under the protection of our sovereign Master and Saviour, was already the tenth foundation of our Congregation. It was again by a wonderful disposition of God’s goodness towards us the third famous shrine of the Blessed Virgin that we were charged with restoring, serving, maintaining using every temporal and moral resource at our disposition so as to restore to honour the veneration of our holy Mother and propagate her devotion in conformity with the ends of our institute.

After recalling the words of the Pope in approving the Missionary Oblates in 1826, Eugene continued:

The Saviour our head it is who confided these shrines to us and placed us there as in a fortress from whence our missionaries are to go out into the various dioceses to preach repentance and gather in those wonderful fruits of conversion that are the subject of our constant wonder and the edification of all who come to know them.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 2 June 1837, EO XVIII

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One Response to HERE WE ARE IN AN EARTHLY PARADISE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think Eugene may well be seeing this ‘earthly paradise’ from the inside out, from a heart that is filled with gratitude. I think of the darkness that was very much a part of his life during the previous 5 years. Here he acknowledges that it is the Saviour, who has planted all of them where they are and how from there they will be sent out.

    I sit and ask myself what it is to be ‘sent out’ for it does not look the same with all of us. I continue to be filled with a yearning to be able to share all that I have been given. There is also a yearning to carry the surety that Eugene speaks of.

    There sits in front of me a small kaleidoscope which I was re-introduced to not all that long ago. I keep it there so that when I seem unable to see the light, to see wonder and the earthly paradise that God has put before me I can simply pick it up and put it before my eyes.

    I pause and put it before my eyes, looking at the ever-changing beauty that it captures from light and the small bit s of colour and shapes. And there is within me renewed quiet wonder and joy. I am reminded of those I am surrounded by, be they members of our Mazenodian Family or simply others that I come to know and love. I am able to see within them the beauty and the wonder of how God has created them. It is impossible for me to not love them and celebrate them.

    Perhaps that is the earthly paradise that Eugene referring to.

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