Living “all for God” does not just happen simply because one wishes it. There is a certain discipline and effort involved in training oneself consciously to be aware of the presence of God. Ephesians 6:18 calls on Christians to “pray always.” In other words to do things in a conscious union with God.

Eugene’s aim was not to live like a contemplative monk – his vocation was to be an active missionary, whose actions were to be firmly rooted in union with God. Thus when people arrived and “disrupted” his timetable, he was to welcome them by transforming this time into a moment of encounter with God.

Perform all of my actions before God without losing for an instant his holy presence, be very careful to offer him all the upset plans my service of neighbour occasions. 

In order to achieve the ability to be aware of God’s presence it was necessary to learn to have a measure of self-control – hence the need for mortification to avoid being self-centred and giving in to the temptation of putting himself on centre stage.

But in imitation of the saints, have a love of mortification and the spirit of mortification. Be guided in this matter by my director and do not fall into any extreme either of excess or deficiency. 

Retreat Notes, August 1817, O.W. XV n. 144

St. Francis of Assisi presented the same idea: “It was easy to love God in all that was beautiful. The lessons of deeper knowledge, though, instructed me to embrace God in all things.”

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One Response to PRAY ALWAYS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Here we are 200 years after Eugene wrote these and a year after Frank posted this and it is so very apt. I want to cry.

    “Perform all of my actions before God without losing for an instant his holy presence, be very careful to offer him all the upset plans my service of neighbour occasions.” How often did you manage this Eugene? Did you have your moments of impatience, did you not want to cry out when being treated unjustly? Did you ever get tired of having to turn the other cheek and say enough of this. I find myself this morning in a world of hurt and struggle. It is not huge I guess in the great view of things, but the hurt is real and it feels big and I want to give into it. I am reminded of my woundedness as a child for the feeling is the same and just to acknowledge that is hard, for it shows me yet another level to be dealt with – not buried by to be brought into the light. To be treated poorly many times sucks, the hurt and injustice of it sucks. And even as I let loose here I keep hearing the whisper “forgiveness” trying to be heard over the din of my self pity and the though comes to mind of “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

    It is good this is a year old posting for I feel a little naked here and it is important for some reason to not cover myself in the wrong way. I shall go out and not let anyone know of this hurt (although there certainly is that part of me that sort of wants the whole world to see my pain and suffering and how I feel wronged – not exactly stellar is it?). But Eugene I feel like I am dragging my feet, I will go out but my thoughts are not truly gracious as I go. I cry to you for you experienced so much and sometimes had to work so hard to follow your vision, your dream. Pray for me Eugene that I can become a little more like you. Pray for me that I can be a little more like Jesus when accused by the ‘leaders’ of his day. Pray for me that I will let go and forgive because sometimes its just plain hard.

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