“In the prolonged silent prayer we make each day, we let ourselves be molded by the Lord, and find in him the inspiration of our conduct”  (OMI Rule of Life, 33).

Icon by Oblate Partner, Lauretta Agolli

The practice of Oraison was an important part of St. Eugene’s daily prayer during which he entered into communion with the members of his missionary family. While they were all in France it was easy for them to gather in prayer at approximately the same time. When Oblate missionaries started to be sent to different continents it was no longer possible to pray at the same time, yet each day there was a time when they stopped and prayed in union with one another – even though not at the same time.

This is a practice that Eugene wanted the members of his religious family to maintain. This is why you are invited to take part in this practice of Oraison on Sunday, May 17, 2020, as we commemorate the anniversary of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s death on May 21, 1861.

Some suggested texts to pray with:

Hebrews 13: 7-8

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Excerpt from: Marcello Zago, O.M.I., Renewing Ourselves in the Charism of Eugene de Mazenod (January 25th, 1995).

Eugene de Mazenod still remains a living person with whom we have a personal relationship. Since he lived between 1782 and 1861 a life rich in events and responsibilities, he owes his importance not simply to his achievements and intuitions, to the Institute he founded and the movement he created in the Church. To this day he continues to relate to us and we to him through the communion of saints. So, remembering him is not enough. We must develop a personal rapport, always more intimate, with him. That is the reason why I invite you together to focus your attention on the Founder, considering him as

-a saint to imitate,

-a founder to follow,

-a teacher to heed

-a father to love,

-an intercessor to invoke.

Let us pause to reflect on how we recognize these qualities in St. Eugene today. The complete article by Father Marcello Zago (OMI Superior General 1986-1998) is worth reading: https://www.omiworld.org/wp-content/uploads/RENEWING-OURSELVES-IN-THE-CHARISM-OF-EUGENE-DE-MAZENOD.pdf

These are the words that St Eugene addressed to his family on his deathbed. They apply to the whole Mazenodian Family today.

Bishop, one of us asked him, give us some words to pass on to all our brothers. It will make them very happy!

Be sure to tell them that I die happy… that I die happy that God was so good as to choose me to found the Congregation of the Oblates in the Church.

Bishop, would you reveal to us the last wish in your heart.

Practice among yourselves charity … charity…. charity… and outside, zeal for the salvation of souls.

-Circular letter of Father Fabre, 1861 after the death of the Founder.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This morning following oraison I moved here to my desk – to give thanks for the gift of being invited here and to continue with my morning prayer. My Living with Christ Sunday Missal has a picture of the Last Supper on it’s front cover and I was struck how Jesus was in the centre but also how the apostles seemed to lean away from him and were caught up in their own separation from him. It struck me that I wanted to be there in that setting – but leaning into him who is my Beloved, to leaning against him so as to hear his heart beat – a beloved disciple.

    I have been grateful for this very intentional invitation and opportunity to pray with, to be with others. It continues to be a gift for all who are able to join in with all who gather here – no matter the reason or the time. But never have I been so grateful as I am now during the pandemic; to have a way to join together, in the heart of our crucified Saviour. I am blessed with many friends, but to find that place where our souls meet and touch – that is community.

    When we cannot gather together in person then I think we might be tempted to give up. But to persevere and to seek out those sacred shared spaces within us – that takes courage, daring and often great surrender; surrender of our usual way of being and doing, surrender of relying on being served or affirmed and surrender to a vulnerability that is both humbling and overwhelming.

    For something so intimate and personal it is also communal.

    We trust in our deepest reality and the need to share it.

    Thank you to all who make this possible. Thank you for creating the intentionality of our monthly gathering. Thank you for leading us to this space where we join – each of us as the beloved disciple.

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