MAY GOD GRANT THAT I MAY REAWAKEN SO MANY FOOLISH PEOPLE FROM THE FATAL CARELESSNESS THAT BRINGS THEM TO THEIR DOOM

When Eugene returned to Aix en Provence as a young priest he preached a series of Lenten sermons aimed at those who were the most abandoned as a result of the French Revolution. For Eugene the “poor” were those who had been deprived of knowing God as savior as a result of the historical and social circumstances.

In the first sermon he presented the indifference of the people to God, and invited “you poor of Jesus Christ” to come to the instructions where they would be enlightened. Just over two hundred years later, our circumstances are different but the message remains equally powerful.

Question the milling crowd that jostles in the public squares, ask anyone what he is doing, where he is going, what is he engaged in doing, etc.

  • The one will answer that a process on the issue of which depends his entire fortune summons him to the bench to solicit, etc.
  • Another will say that he is going to negotiate an important matter, etc.
  • Another will say that he is going to negotiate his presence on the farm to which he is heading with all speed.
  • Another again will say that he is going over in his mind some plans concerning fortune, interests or ambition that will assure, etc.
  • Perhaps you will discover some who will be compelled to say that they are hastening their steps towards the object of their less than noble passions.

So come, whoever you are, come tirelessly to some instructions that must correct you in many fatal errors, enlighten you on what should be your only true interests. Not a single one, no, not one will be able to reply that his mind is filled with the eternal truths, that these are the subject of his meditations and searches. “It has been made a desolation” etc. (Jer. 12:11). O blindness! O folly! However, the days pass, the years roll by, death has its day!

Then illusion vanishes, but there is no longer time to make good the loss of a life entirely devoted in the tiring search for passing vanities that must be left behind. It is too late to collect an incorruptible treasure of glory and happiness for eternity.

Come especially you poor of Jesus Christ and may God grant that I may make my voice heard in the four quarters of the world to reawaken so many foolish people from the fatal carelessness that brings them to their doom.

Notes for the first instruction in the Church of the Madeleine EO XV n. 114

These were Eugene’s preaching notes and thus when we see the “etc.” in the text, it means that he would spontaneously expand on that point.

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One Response to MAY GOD GRANT THAT I MAY REAWAKEN SO MANY FOOLISH PEOPLE FROM THE FATAL CARELESSNESS THAT BRINGS THEM TO THEIR DOOM

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “I looked for happiness outside of God…”

    It is the in the little things that joy is held. Discovering that Eugene’s ‘etc.’ was not just a list of weakness and brokenness but was rather a launching point for him to share his experience of God, to share the Good News.

    I think of how he gets to know those who he meets, listens to where they are at and from there shares who God is to him. He enters into their hearts no matter how dark or empty they may appear. And as I write this I realise that this is what Jesus did, this is how he approached every person’s situations. He preached on whatever was the subject or reality of the moment.

    We are not the initiating points but rather the ‘response to…” This is how we, Eugene’s sons and daughters, live and have our being.

    I used to think that as God healed me I would become less human, my weaknesses and woundedness would somehow disappear. I am beginning to see though that is the opposite – it is about how I move and be through and with and in my humanness. It is about how I respond from that – as Jesus and Eugene do.

    These days, all around the world, we are invited into a special solitude – we are invited to step into and immerse ourselves in the desert that this pandemic has created – and which is but a reflection of our Lenten journey. We are invited to look at the new life and beauty to be found in the grains of sand and marvel at the life within them. Not a looking for ‘what isn’t’ but rather for ‘what is’.

    I looked for happiness outside of God but now I find it all within the heart of my Beloved.

    This morning I awoke to realise I was singing “How great thou art”. I looked for happiness outside of God but now I find it all within the heart of my Beloved.

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