Since the missions are one of the principal ends of the Institute, all will strive principally to fulfill well this task.

1818 Rule Chapter Two §1

After the break for Christmas, the daily reflections on the writings of St Eugene resume. In the coming weeks I will continue to explore the theme of the preaching of parish missions. It was our principal missionary activity in France and so I think it valuable to go into detail.

Times have changed and the methods of the 19th century generally no longer apply today, but the spirit in which these activities were done and their overall spiritual and human goals are still valid today. We were founded to be ministers of conversion, and that same Gospel spirit of Eugene has to be the foundation on which we build our 21st century ministry of conversion to “a new heart, a new spirit, a new mission.”

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Because it is a new year I return to the very first reflections that Frank has offered to us and it seems so fitting. “Parish Missions: Invitation to a new heart, a new spirit, a new mission”. Something clicks within me. I go back to my copy of the Constitutions and Rules – the first 10 Constitutions come under the heading of Mission. Each one is a stepping stone, an invitation to enter more deeply into how we can live together for the Mission (yes for our own salvation but that will come as we work for the salvation of others). Community – that pulls us together and gives us the ‘why’ we gather together as a family in support of the mission.
    1. The call of Jesus Christ, heard within the Church through people’s need for salvation, draws us together as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Christ thus invites us to follow him and to share in his mission through word and work…
    2. We are men “set apart for the Gospel” (Rom 1:1), […] The desire to co-operate with him draws us to know him more deeply, to identify with him, to let him live in us. We strive to reproduce in ourselves the pattern of his life.
    3. …The call and the presence of the Lord among us today bind us together in charity and obedience to create anew in our own lives the Apostles’ unity with him and their common mission in his Spirit.
    4. Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil 3:10).
    5. Wherever we work, our mission is especially to those people whose condition cries out for salvation and for the hope which only Jesus Christ can fully bring. These are the poor with their many faces; we give them our preference.
    6. Our efforts will be characterized by a genuine desire for unity with all who consider themselves followers of Jesus, so that, according to his prayer, all may believe that the Father has sent him (cf. Jn 17:21). […] we are united with all those who, without acknowledging Christ as Lord, nevertheless love what he loves.
    7. Our mission puts us on constant call to respond to the most urgent needs of the Church through various forms of witness and ministry, but especially through proclaiming the Word of God which finds its fulfilment in the celebration of the sacraments and in service to others.
    8. Awareness of our own shortcomings humbles us, yet God’s power makes us confident as we strive to bring all people – especially the poor – to full consciousness of their dignity as human beings and as sons and daughters of God.
    9. We are members of the prophetic Church. While recognizing our own need for conversion, we bear witness to God’s holiness and justice.
    10. Mary Immaculate is patroness of our Congregation. […] Wherever our ministry takes us, we will strive to instill genuine devotion to the Immaculate Virgin who pre-figures God’s final victory over all evil.
    I have been coming to love these Constitutions and Rules as I continue to study each one, to take them one-by-one, taste them, savour them and allow them to enter into my heart and my being. They are much more than just nice ‘holy’ words for to just sample and then move on to something else will not suffice – I want it all and there is the Cross in the midst and from/with/in/through it there is resurrection. The ministry of conversion.
    I share one last moment with my thoughts from the last assignment of our course before Christmas break. I was referring to Fernand Jetté’s comments from “O.M.I. The Apostolic Man” which he wrote concerning The Preface: “ to imbue themselves deeply with the ‘immense fruits of salvation that are capable of resulting from their labours, if they conduct themselves fittingly.” Do I really believe this? Am I capable and willing to accept and live what are the fruits of my own labours? This will be the ‘what’ I do, of what I offer with my oblation. My oblation that I offer for the salvation of others, and of myself.”
    This is a peek at how I might live what Frank referred to as “conversion to “a new heart, a new spirit, a new mission.”

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