HERE I HAVE OPENED MY HEART TO EXPRESS VERY POORLY WHAT I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO SAY

As Vicar General of his uncle Bishop Fortuné, Eugene had had to be the hatchet man in the diocese to clean up many messy situations and to instill a measure of discipline among the clergy, who had not had a resident bishop for over 20 years, and many had become independent “bishops” in their parishes – this resenting any interference from the Vicar General in the name of Bishop Fortuné

I thank God for having enlightened me in this regard by some quite cruel experiences. In my vanity had I not told myself many times that although so many people suddenly rose up against me because of a clearly unjust and blameworthy prejudice, it was due perhaps more to the fact that I was misunderstood than to the jealousy and hatred which useful ideas and salutary reforms, even necessary ones provoke. But again, this also was vanity [Ecclesiastes 2;2].

Have I not been misunderstood, misjudged, mocked, calumniated, and hated by those who do not know me well, or who at least who could have known me – living with me, seeing me in action with their very eyes – and by those who had been not only the witnesses of my excessive kindness, but also its recipients and by those upon whom I had lavished many favors? Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. But again, this also was vanity [Ecclesiastes 1:2;2:1].

What possessed me to write all these things? My heart overflows…[Psalm 45:1]. Here I have opened my heart to express very poorly what I thought I would never be able to say. Let’s get back to my Diary.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 31 March 1839, EO XX

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1 Response to HERE I HAVE OPENED MY HEART TO EXPRESS VERY POORLY WHAT I THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO SAY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I began by Googling the word “vanity” and discovered that its origin was from the Latin word “vanus” which means empty and without substance, useless (a lie).

    A light has been turned on to its highest setting. Eugene has been writing in his diary and perhaps indulging in his own little pity party. Perhaps this is why he seems to recognize the futility and emptiness that vanity speaks of.

    Enough of this he tells himself; “here I have opened my heart to express very poorly what I thought I would never be able to say. Let’s get back to my Diary.” I recognize how I have indulged in this way of thinking and being and have discovered over time that it leads away from light (God’s light); it is like a dark pit that only grows darker and deeper as we start climbing down into it. This vanity becomes a dark companion that offers neither light nor life.

    I recognise that companion which was a dominant part of my life for many years; and which every once-in-a-while returns to try and recapture that friendship. It is not through any great strength of my own that I stop from succumbing to her, but rather something deeper from within me – the Holy Spirit who helps to see the futility of thinking that way. Vanity of vanities! And so I kind of shake my head and begin to pray. I remember many years ago realizing that this kind of thinking would lead me away from life rather than into it. And so I began to say the Hail Mary over and over again, until it became a part of my breathing in and breathing out. It was where my being would rest. If I had my beads with me then it became the Rosary; if not then it kept me focused on God; on life in and with and through God, rather than allowing me to become filled with emptiness and darkness.

    Something to watch for as I begin another week and step out into the light of a new day.

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