THEY DRYLY TEACH THEM THE LETTER OF THE CATECHISM… BUT DO NOT TRY TO BRING OUT GOD’S GOODNESS, THE INFINITE LOVE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

On a pastoral visit to some rural parishes for confirmation, Bishop Eugene commented on the knowledge of the children.

A visit to Caillols where the parishes of Saint Julien, Camoins and Chateau-Gombert had come together… I was very pleased with the childrens’ attention to my instruction which was drawn precisely from the indifference or rather the carelessness that they, as all other children, give to supernatural matters. Oh! how poorly do they instruct them! It is only too true that no one makes an effort to stimulate in their souls the sentiments to which they are nevertheless susceptible. They dryly teach them the letter of the catechism, more or less well explained, but do not try to bring out God’s goodness, the infinite love of Our Lord Jesus Christ for people, and do not form their hearts.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 13 September 1837, EO XVIII

While never watering down religious teaching and moral demands, Eugene always tried to communicate his passionate love for God in response to the love which he personally experienced from Jesus the Savior.

An important reminder to us who are teachers of the faith as parents, catechists, teachers or preachers: it is all about God’s goodness and the infinite love of Jesus Christ, with all the commitments and responsibilities entailed in that relationship and its expression.

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One Response to THEY DRYLY TEACH THEM THE LETTER OF THE CATECHISM… BUT DO NOT TRY TO BRING OUT GOD’S GOODNESS, THE INFINITE LOVE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Perhaps one of Eugene’s most endearing ways of being is how he always shared and continues to share his passionate love of God. This was foundational and how his heart beat. It was from this stance that he founded the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, that he inspires and is a model for all of his sons and daughters today. And beyond for this is how we are all sent out to be with others.

    How often when I sit here I look to Eugene, to other members of this family, to people and always to Jesus, to God as they all seem to be a part of the other. My mind moves from one to the other – effortlessly in an uncontrolled way. And I seem always to find goodness in everyone or everything (although I may have to work very hard for this last part).

    Sitting her I cannot help thinking of how effusive and extravagant God’s love is, how God ‘lavishes’ love on us, how we are drenched, steeped and infused with love… There is nothing placid or limited when it comes to God’s passion. It is never ‘cut and dried’ – it is endlessly filled to overflowing.

    Frank’s last statement encapsulates it all as he speaks of the “commitments and responsibilities entailed in that relationship and its expression”. It is never just about fulfilling the letter of the law, but how we do it. It must always be expressed in love.

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