MY VOCATION TO BE THE SERVANT AND PRIEST OF THE POOR TO WHOSE SERVICE I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO DEVOTE MY WHOLE LIFE

Four weeks later, Eugene begins his Sunday Lenten sermon to the poor in the Church of the Madeleine with a heartfelt expression of gratitude to his listeners for the way in which they have been receptive to the message he has been preaching.

When we ascended this pulpit, dedicated as it is to truth, for the first time, we frankly confessed our fears that our lack of familiarity with the Provencal language would constitute an obstacle to the fruitfulness of our instructions.
Encouraged however by a desire to serve you, we placed all our trust in the Lord and our hope has not been in vain, as the outcome has been that the holy Word transmitted to you has received an eager welcome. Praise the Lord for that, my brothers, and so overjoyed am I on that account that I am unable to contain it.
Is this for my self-glorification? God forbid, perish the thought, one that is as hurtful to God, sole author of all good, as it is damaging and pernicious to any fool so complacent as to entertain it. The only claim I have is on your prayers, and all I deserve is to be pointed out as a wretched sinner.
But called by my vocation to be the servant and priest of the poor to whose service I would like to be able to devote my whole life, I cannot help being touched when I see the eagerness of the poor to hear my voice;

Instruction at the Madeleine, preached in Provencal, on the fourth Sunday of Lent
O.W. XV n. 115

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One Response to MY VOCATION TO BE THE SERVANT AND PRIEST OF THE POOR TO WHOSE SERVICE I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO DEVOTE MY WHOLE LIFE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I love Eugene’s daring, his honesty. I know that I do not have the same capabilities as Eugene – for I am not a natural born preacher like him. And I am not sure that I ever had or will have the same daring as he. Part of it might have come from his youth, his early upbringing as a noble, his education and certainly his belief and living out his lived experience of having been sent. No matter – he was given the gift which he took in and then lived to the fullest.

    “…called by my vocation to be the servant and priest of the poor to whose service I would like to be able to devote my whole life…” I read this over and over, with a growing sense of joy and gratitude. Have you ever noticed how often those two (joy and gratitude) seem to be together – a part of each other? But I digress. “…to be the servant …of the poor to whose service I woulk like to be able to devote my whole life..” I have said for many years now, very softly at first, but with growing conviction, that I wanted to serve the poor, that I wanted to serve those who serve. I felt this was/is where I was being called, but most often I could not tell you what that meant. I would also say that God was calling me to love, greatly, the whole world. And as with the other I was not able to tell you what that really meant. But with both I knew that God would make it clear (or clearer) to me eventually. At the same time, my small daily prayer to God; “to make me little, make me hidden, make me a light to my neighbor’s feet.” This was how I wanted to live me life, this was how I believed I would eventually be brought “home” to the fullness of life with my God.

    It seems to be happening, slowly, one step at a time. I continue to discover just what it means to “serve” (love) and in my own small way to preach and share what God has given to me. That’s not a learned thing, simply another part of my life that I am without control, that I simply cannot not do. I have been given the gift of so much love by God, and I am unable to contain myself (now that sounds like something Eugene would express), but totally unable to contain myself from sharing it with others. I seriously want others to know the same experience of God’s love that I know because I truly believe it is there in each of us just waiting to be freed. And like Eugene, I too am happy if somehow another listens and is able to experience God as I do. A small recognized joy of God in each other. That is everything.

    On this third day of Christmas, that is my gift this morning. To be able to share the joy of knowing God’s love, and recognizing it in each of us. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” (from Les Miserables)

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