EACH ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE LISTENED TO BY THEIR PASTOR

I locked myself into my office to clear my desk. These audiences every day take all of my time. Nevertheless, they are necessary. It is the duty of a bishop to make himself available to all his flock. I have the satisfaction of seeing everybody satisfied with the way they have been received when they leave. I must give advice and help, each one has the right to be listened to by their pastor.

The ”audiences” that Bishop Eugene refers to was a period of four hours from 10 am to 2 pm each day when he was present to receive people in his office. Everyone was always welcome and there were no appointments – people just waited one after the other.

Barthélemy des Martyrs [ed. One of the outstanding episcopal figures of the 16th century] devoted more time to audiences than I do and it does not seem to have been time wasted. It would be possible to spend it more pleasantly, but that does not matter as long as I am doing my duty. We must not lose sight of that beautiful text from St. Paul: Because we are your servants for the sake of Jesus [ed. 2 Corinthians 4:5]. With that in mind it is possible to put up with every discomfort and every pain.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 8 September 1838, EO XIX

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One Response to EACH ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE LISTENED TO BY THEIR PASTOR

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “It would be possible to spend it more pleasantly, but that does not matter as long as I am doing my duty.” I was a little surprised at Eugene’s words. Was this the reason that Eugene did everything that he did – because it was his duty? I stop and think for a moment of those times when we feel our humanness, when we are tired or feel empty, or want to take a break… Perhaps those are the times when we might need to be reminded that it is our duty to love, to serve, to give, to be… And so we continue.

    I think of how Jesus would go off into the hills, or out on a boat, so that he could pray and be with the Father. Preparing himself, allowing himself to be nourished and replenished with love so that he could ‘be’ there for those who needed healing and those who sought justice…

    I think of Eugene locking his office in order to simply clear his desk; so that he would not be distracted with the work that awaited him, so that he could spend a moment allowing God to fill him with the love that was needed to be there for others.

    It is not just about doing it, but also the why and how we do it. Yes we say. Yes “because we are your servants for the sake of Jesus.” This is when we become like Jesus who we serve, when we are tired and say ‘yes’; when we know that the person we are listening to is not even one of our biggest fans and still we say ‘yes’ and listen; when we might not want to listen to one more person’s questions, sufferings or sins, and still we sit there and just ‘be’ with them.

    This is Oblation. This is the Cross. This is how we too become Co-operators of the Saviour.

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