In France it is customary that people wish each other for the New Year – whereas in several other countries this is done for Christmas. For the Bishop this meant hours of meeting people formally to exchange greetings and good wishes.

Eugene found these moments heavy, but saw them as an important part of his role in the city. He survived them by trying to live them in the presence of God.

January 1:

And then began the grand general reception. It lasted all day. I had to repeatedly raise my heart to God to offer him the wearisome duty of my position. As annoying as it is, there is a good side to be considered. It is a tribute to the head of religion in the diocese. A lot of people meet him. We exchange a few kind words.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 1 January December 1840, EO XX

The visits were so numerous that a second day had to be set aside to continue the process.

January 4: A day of visits like yesterday. All our actions can be acceptable to God when we offer them to him. It is out of duty that I do thisdrudgery. Besides, some good comes from this meeting of the pastor with his flock.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 4 January December 1840, EO XX

A good attitude for us to cultivate when we have to face the dull routine of some of our daily occupations.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I seem to awaken each morning with a sense of excitement and hope. What will you have in store for me today Lord as I respond to the invitation of being in this space with you? I am not alone and just the writing of those words fills me with exquisite joy – Jesus is with me and we look together on Eugene and Frank’s offering to begin our day.

    Joy! Quiet and unassuming as it fills my mornings. While my days are not filled with some of the things that I “used to do” still I find myself filled with hope and gratitude as I lean back into the embrace that perfect love offers me. There is my course work to contend with and tomorrow will hold my 10-day rhythm of getting tested for COVID so that I can continue to visit and take the Eucharist to a couple who are older than myself, sick and unable to leave their home.

    I might experience some slight discomfort with the testing but I think now of those doctors and nurses who greet us – hours and days filled with tedious routine and yet they comfort our many small discomforts and anxiety that comes with the testing.

    I wonder how those healthcare workers find meaning in what seems to be such a repetitive task – person after person, day after day in order to fulfill their duties. How do they do it I ask myself? Perhaps they too do not enter into it alone but rather are accompanied and held by the Beloved just as we are in our daily lives.

    There is a kind of joyful radiance about my being this morning; I am doubtful that anyone else can see it – but it is in this light that another day begins.

    Today I sit with my Beloved, in his light and in the light of Eugene and all others present in this space. This is what helps our daily routines to be transformed into rhythms of breathing in and out, and hearing our heart beats.

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