Reflecting on the practice of praying with his people, Eugene writes as bishop, conscious of the important position which the bishop has as first pastor of a diocese.
It is something beautiful in the eyes of religion to see the first pastor himself coming again and again into the middle of every part of his flock to invoke God’s mercies and to give an example of the duties which he has to fill in regard to Jesus Christ when Jesus shows Himself to His people to receive its adoration and to listen to its requests.
The next sentence of his diary entry, “The bishop, before whom all people should bow respectfully” may startle us today, but we need to remember that Eugene is speaking about the role of the bishop – whom he understood as the representative of Jesus Christ in the diocese and as successor to the apostles.
The bishop, before whom all people should bow respectfully comes to prostrate himself again and again his forehead to the ground to humble himself before the sovereign Master of all things, and offers Him incense as a sign of adoration.
Then, recollecting himself in His presence, in a most humble attitude, prays especially for the people around him and for all those whom he represents. When the attending Canon gives the signal, all genuflect again and retire quietly, heart filled with inexpressible happiness.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 7 February 1839, EO XX
” Every high priest is taken from among people and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins” Letter to the Hebrews 5:1