I originally published what follows in May 2016 and believe it has something to say to us today. It was written by Enzo Teodori, who died five months afterwards. He refers to the reflection of Fr Jetté that I used in Friday’s entry of “St Eugene Speaks.” (http://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=4255)
This is what I wrote then.
I received this reflection today from one of the Oblate lay associates who is very very seriously ill in Italy. In this powerful and moving reflection, he shares his lived understanding of the Good Friday vision of St Eugene, that is our inheritance as members of the Mazenodian Family – this is the meaning of oblation:
“A little echo to the masterful reflections of Fr. Jetté you reported in ‘Eugene speaks to us’ today on May 6.
Unity with the Crucified Jesus and Savior gives one a supernatural joy that inspires in one a strong desire to make others happy and to put oneself in their service.
Because of my illness, I am compelled to remain in the house for many hours. So I thought of sending to my closer acquaintances, via whatsapp, the Word of the day with a little comment, to give busy people a little time of daily “recreation.” Well, I started with the “group” of siblings and in-laws, and now, about 80 people receive it, with very edifying reactions. Another simple experience: although I am incapable of eating, I try to cook nice things for my wife and my children.
These are two simple experiences, two expressions of the supernatural joy that I experience in unity with Jesus the Crucified Savior. Paradoxically, it is a joy that is nourished by the pain: the stronger the physical pain, but above all the moral, the more intense is the joy and stronger the desire to make others happy.
What is the key to unity with the Crucified Savior? The illness has brought down my world, my desires, my plans; everything is lost and the vision of Providence that followed them has given way to the image of abandonment. Contemplating and meditating on Jesus Crucified, I realized that his act led him to the resurrection: he unconditionally entrusted his spirit to the Father. With this act, even humanly, He took on the Father’s will. His great desire to be recognized as the Savior, which was the reason for his incarnation, desire agreed to with the Father, collapsed on the cross. In the human perspective it collapsed, in the human understanding of the will of God. Trusting in the collapse, in the perception of abandonment (but as to my mission … had we not agreed, I and You, my Father ?!), Jesus humanly has embraced fully the outlook of God, and that’s the resurrection, and here is the full joy, and here is the overcoming of the limits of human desires, even the most holy, like taking care of one’s family effectively.
Illness is to live the abandonment, the collapse, on an ongoing basis, unraveled over time. The reliance must be renewed every day and several times a day. The grace that comes from relying unconditionally makes sense, even if you do not understand, as Providence in action. It makes you understand, even if you do not see how, that the Father is implementing a plan of love in your soul, in your body and in your story.
The more intense the pain is, the more the Spirit convinces you that God is building, drawing a masterpiece. If the pain is relatively little, it makes you think that God is working on a sketch, a draft; when the pain is very strong it makes you think that God is drawing the Sistine Chapel in your life. And masterpieces, you know, take years and years of hard work ….
So, I think Fr. Jetté has expressed very skillfully that unity with Jesus the Crucified Savior that gives one supernatural joy that inspires a strong desire to make others happy, to put oneself at their service.”
What a gift to read this and be able to share it again! May every reader of this reflection join in prayerful gratitude for this son of St Eugene and his young family. May he rest in peace and intercede for us in our time of need.