“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3)

For many days we have been meditating on the Last Supper farewell discourse of Jesus to his disciples. Today’s Gospel (John 17:1-11a) has Jesus praying for each of us, and summing up the purpose of his incarnation: to know God so that we know the fullness of life that will never be taken away from us. It is eternal from the moment of our baptism in this earthly life, actualized in our adult encounter with Jesus and will be fulfilled for all eternity.

To “know” in the Scriptures does not refer to intellectual knowledge, but to an intimate relationship of communion. It does not happen automatically, but is a never-ending process of ongoing formation in communion. The spirit of St Eugene is well portrayed in this article from our Oblate Rule, which applies to everyone:

“Formation is a process which aims at the integral growth of a person and lasts a lifetime. It enables us to accept ourselves as we are and develop into the persons we are called to be. Formation involves us in an ever-renewed conversion to the Gospel and a readiness to learn and to change in response to new demands.” (C 47)

The pandemic has challenged us this year to refocus our understanding and expression of our relationship with God and the eternal life that we already have – but it involves a commitment to ever-renewed daily conversion. It is a process where we need community support – which is why the Church exists – and the Mazenodian Family is one of its expressions.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Oh my goodness. I do so very much see the connection – like slender, fragile threads of gold running from John’s Gospel, through Eugene’s life and our Rule of Life, intertwined throughout and with each of the threads that makes up our Church, highlighting our own individual places within the church and connecting with our own hearts. It is all so perfectly balanced and so incredible as to be impossible to properly describe it. And while each of those threads are individual and separate they also belong to and rely upon each other.

    This is what presence, what relationship through and with and in looks like from within the heart of our Beloved.

    I am part of a group of 4 other women and each morning we share an email with the others, sharing our thoughts, wishes, jokes and pictures as we begin our days. And if one does not respond there is always at least one other who will immediately write to see if the person who did not respond is okay, that they are safe and well, that they are emotionally okay. In pre-pandemic days we would do this in person at least each weekend at church and then follow it up as we could with a shared meal. But with the lockdowns and on-going health issues, with the vulnerability that goes hand-in-hand with our age and ever changing pandemic conditions we have come to depend on each other’s presence in new ways. This is one small example of the community support that Frank speaks of. We are finding new ways to be present to and with each other.
    I think of the commitments we make as members of the Mazenodian Family to ongoing and yes ever renewed daily conversions and how we live these. I think of the document titled “Renewing Ourselves in the Charism of Eugene de Mazenod” by Marcello Zago OMI in 1995 before Eugene’s Canonization that was sent to all members of the congregation and that students of the Eugene 101 course were invited to read. Perhaps an idea for us members of the Mazenodian Family to relook at in the light of the current pandemic and allow the Spirit to show us some next possible steps in a new deeper and ongoing relationship of conversion.

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