Situations vacant! I conclude these reflections on the 1818 Rule with the picture that Eugene gives of the qualities required in a prospective candidate to the Missionaries.

He has to have a great desire for his own perfection,
an unlimited love for Jesus Christ and his Church,
and an enormous zeal for the salvation of souls.
He must have a heart that is free from all disorderly affection for earthly things,
a great detachment from his family and place of birth,
a lack of interest to the point of disdaining wealth;
he must be willing to serve God and the Church, either in the missions, or in the other ministries of the Society
and he must want to persevere until death in faithfulness and obedience to the holy Rule of the Institute.

1818 Rule, Chapter two, §1 The qualities necessary for admission in
Missions, 78 (1951) p.85

 We shall see how Eugene’s later version of this already-demanding description was to become much more fiery in approach.

 “A man of personality can formulate ideals, but only a man of character can achieve them.”   Herbert Read

This entry was posted in RULE and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Whoa! It is only after more than 62 years that I can listen to this and admit that it might – just might be a remote possibility. I think – I will never be a missionary and then stop myself from walking away and look a little deeper. I always wanted to be perfect – you know – “do” things perfectly so others would see how good and smart etc that I was. Thank God I gave up on that one – it was never going to happen. But I look at the perfection that Eugene seemed to be talking about. Was he talking about allowing God to hone us, to transform us again and again?

    “Unlimited love for Jesus and his church …” To me unlimited love comes from Jesus. I would love to be able to say that my love is unlimited – I mean I’m not bad but I am very human. Even for “his church”. That is something that I must constantly work at for some “parts” of the church, and by that I am not just referring to the hierarchal leaders in the church, but of the many who make up our church. Some are definitely “harder” for me to love than others – it seems to be a matter of having to just keep trying over and over and letting go of the perceived hurts and wrongs (although as we get older it does seem to get a lot easier).

    “…. an enormous zeal for the salvation of souls”. I really need to stop and ask myself exactly what does that mean – really what does that mean? If it means to want to share this awesome love that God seems to fill me with, and give it (or more accurately let it flow out from me) to those I meet and find myself loving most dearly, then perhaps I am on my way. For I find myself loving more and more those who are hurting and unable to see and know God’s love.

    Forgive the length of this Frank – but in reading this before I have always said that this was a call to something much more than I (or other lay people) could give and yet as I write I am discovering that in a real way how that is not true. It is not, I think, an all or nothing thing – it is something we walk into and grow with. So I shall continue but will try to be a little more brief.

    I believe that “to be free from disorderly affection for earthly things, detachment from family and place of birth and be willing to serve God ….” speaks to “letting go” of things, possessions, even people and where we live – we cannot hang on to them and be and live only out them – if my world revolves around just things and places and how rich I may or may not be then I won’t be able to look outside of myself. Even wealth becomes a relative thing. We can all begin to have a sense of “what is enough” and who does and does not have enough. I have so much now that I really don’t need or want or yearn for more. Reality has a way of shifting. And perseverance – it seems to become yet another part and way of being. Its sort of like looking up from a difficult trek and saying to God “I’m coming Lord but this road is really bad and an impossible climb, it ‘sucks’ so show Your face cause I need a little help here. But heh I’m coming.”

    In all – what Eugene said were requirements look at first as impossibly demanding and “saintly” and impossible for most of us. But as I reflect and look at the people around me, the Associates in particular, I see this being lived out in many many ways every day.

    I have a sense that were I to be sitting next to Eugene right now he would be like a Father and would be nodding and telling me that I was starting to get it, and urging me to keep going forward – not to stop here. Thank you Eugene, for your vision, your perseverance and your guidance.

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    A beautiful reflection Eleanor.

    As I read and re-read this text I am seeing it as one who in the next few days will taking “my stuff” and head to join the regional novitiate team. So I see text as opening salvo and challenge as we enter into the “Divine Mystery”. Pray that I may have wisdom.

  3. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    A year later and still I am struck by the beauty of the invitation from Eugene. Again this is something that I feel calls speaks directly to me. And in the midst of the struggle and doubts is almost a reaffirmation somehow that I still hear it so very clearly. It does not however bring any road maps or clear directions and still I struggle to discern if this God’s call to me or Eleanor’s call to me. How to lead and support a group who are being told to wait and something will be worked out for them, when the time is right, if the time is right. How do we nourish ourselves.

    I read Eugene’s words again for they speak so clearly to me and yet it is not something for just me alone. How could I be so mistaken about something that burns within me so deeply. My God I am so very clearly not in control here. I was once told that if it is of you it will last and thrive and grow and if it is not it will wither and die. Is this what is happening here it is not meant to be? I cannot give in and believe that for I see it in other places and would dare to ask you for the same thing here. Why not? What do I do with this great desire and passion you have given to me. And I can state so honestly it is not just me, but others, who have waited and hoped and and dared to ask for more. People leave when their needs are not met for they grow weary. Give me something to give them.

    Today is the feast of Pentecost. I feel as if I am strung out on a tree, alone. I am still waiting for the resurrection to happen. Is this what dying is about? It is scary and alone, dark and I keep trying to find the hope. Do I wait for the hope to find me? There are no warm and fuzzy feelings here I would still wait for them and they don’t come. Frank has titled this the Be-attitudes – the qualities needed in order to be. There is no doing here – what in the name of all this holy would you have me be? I want to scream and shout, throw a tantrum (if I thought it would help), beg and plead that you hear me. Just a little guidance here. This is bigger than me, please hear the cries of your children. And sitting here I have come to one really huge thing I won’t settle for just “enough” it has to be everything – nothing less than will suffice. This is how you created me. So help me out here. Give me the words to speak to the others, give me the wisdom and the grace – you have not brought us this far for nothing. You didn’t bring the Isrealites only half way through the desert so don’t abandon us here.

    Perhaps today I might be filled with the Spirit of your love, with a little grace and wisdom. If all must be done within the confines our the church and the province then give us I beg what we need and deserve to follow, to come to where we must be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *