The cross of Jesus Christ is central to our mission…

This is the focal point of the spirit of Eugene, handed on to the Mazenodian family today.

Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil 3: 10).

CC&RR, Constitution 4

 For this reason Eugene wanted the Missionary to have a special veneration for the symbol of the Cross, and to never be far from it:

They will often fix their eyes on this crucifix, take it in their hands, and while holding it direct toward it frequent short prayers.
They will kiss it in the morning when they hang it around their neck, and at night when they place it near their bed, before putting on and after taking off the priestly vestments, and every time they judge it appropriate to let someone else venerate it.

1818 Rule, Part Two, Chapter One. Regarding other principal observances

 Writing to his friend, Forbin Janson, he had said:

You would hardly believe the effect it produces and how useful it is. People accustomed to ecclesiastical attire are little impressed; but the crucifix to them is awesome. How often have I seen, even amongst libertines, some who, when they see it, cannot help removing their hats… It is useful to the priest in the confessional and, on the day of absolution, it helps the penitent, in whose hands we place it, to conceive sorrow for his sins, to detest them and even to weep because of them.

Letter to Forbin Janson, 9 October 1816, O.W. VI n. 14


 “All that passes is raised to the dignity of expression; all that happens is raised to the dignity of meaning. Everything is either symbol or parable.”   Paul Claudel

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  1. John Mouck says:

    YES to all the above.

    Yet for we lowly “associates” this does not seam to be an option, at least not here in Lacombe, at least not yet.
    So any (make that “all”) good works we do are done anonymously for they know not from where we come. Here in Canada we are the “secret service” wing of the Mazenodian family – not to be seen in public.

    • Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

      Hi John – just wanted to offer my thoughts on a couple of things you wrote. You wrote about “we lowly associates”. I don’t see us as being lowly but rather right where we should be – we are where we are. I don’t think that any of us want to be “equal to” vowed Oblates” – we do however want to live the charism, live out the mission with the Oblates, in communion with the Oblates. It is slow but it is happening. And I guess I don’t think we’re as hidden as we might think. Others see and know what is happening – God knows and I guess that is all that really matters. I know that I used to think that only a very few at church knew who I was and what I was doing and was involved in. Was I in for a rude shock! I think that in our very acts of love we give ourselves away.

      So although we may not be quite where “we want to be” with all the outward signs and symbols I think that we are where we need to be. OMI Lacombe is still a “fairly” new Province that came with the merging and joining of 5 separate Provinces (which are now Districts). It is only now with a little time having passed that we are coming to live the reality of the one unified Province. And now we are starting and working towards bringing the Associates from the different Districts together with one identity, with an OMI Lacombe Canada identity. It is not something that we can rush, for we are joining together with other Associates, joining together with the Oblate community. It is a “us coming to know and walk with them” and “them coming to know and walk with us”. It is a mutual thing, a together thing and we better know what it is that we are trying to do and who we are trying to live like. I find that although I “want ….” often it is good that it is happening as it is – I am learning and becoming, as are Oblate brothers. It is also much more than just a period of learning, it is as Frank said almost a year ago at our retreat, a way of living. It does not happen over night but it does happen.

      • John Mouck says:

        Good morning Eleanor,
        I am so glad my comment caught your attention and was food for thought.
        As you stated earlier, the 24th and 25th comes at a good time for this discussion.
        I am so looking forward to it.

        Thinking of and praying for you and all my Oblate family this glorious long weekend,


  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    I wonder what Eugene would say if he would have read this little from one of his sons? We all know him enough and we can his voice booming and then find a tear falling from his eye.

    As I read this text I am reminded of the times in the sacrament of Confession when in Cassock I would hand the Crucifix over, place it in their hands and sense a depth of spirit and comfort.
    In saying this I know that we must move beyond the image (not negating at all, not dualistic though but both/and) to see it is the Body of Christ/God’s creation that we hurt through sin.

  3. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    My heart sings! On so many levels it just sings – with joy, with recognition and with just the breath of the idea – “Become the symbol!” I think there is a joyous truth to this – for if we wear the symbol – the Cross – it becomes an integral part of us, of who we are – and so we live the symbol – the Cross! It becomes a caress. I was so pleased to read of those who kiss their crosses, or grab and hold them – whenever and wherever they are moved to do that. It is an integral part of our lives and yet we never speak of it. I wonder why not?

    For some of us who are Associates in Lacombe Canada Province – we are young at this and we are working at coming together, at finding our identity. There are many facets to being an Oblate Associate and we are slowly discovering this with our Oblate brothers. It is a process that live as we come to together, not on our own. Being an Oblate Associate is different from being associated with Oblates. We can be associated with Oblates as friends, as co-workers, as workers in a parish, working in ministry together or even as members of the same social group. With Oblate Associates there is a sense of call, of a desire to live out our lives and to live out the charism of St. Eugene. It is intentional and it done with a specific commitment. It is a way of living, of being. And it is done with the Oblate community in prayer, in discernment and in sharing. Some of these things (and more) become the identifiers of who we are more than the symbol we wear. That will come. I don’t think that we are really hidden at all – I think that we might be quite visible in so many ways. I could say a lot more here but will wait until the 24th to do that in our workshop.

    I love your quote from Paul Claudel: ”All that passes is raised to the dignity of expression; all that happens is raised to the dignity of meaning. Everything is either symbol or parable.” There is much there and it is touching something inside of me that I will go away and ponder on.

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