The young Bourellier was unhappy because he considered himself less useful than those around him. Here Eugene encouraged him by pointing out that whatever he was asked to do in the house, as a service to the community and its Rule, was an invitation to seek the presence of God. Living the present moment fully for God, “with heart and soul” was an assurance salvation.

How much I could tell you about the unhappiness you manifest about not being useful. What an error!
Were obedience to put me at a door to open and close to those who come and go, I would consider myself very happy and I would believe, not without reason, that my salvation was more assured by this situation in which I was forced to be against my liking. One always does enough when one does only what obedience prescribes. It is only a matter of doing it well, not only exteriorly, but with heart and soul, and then one cannot be other than saved.
So, my dear friend, cease to be grieved in the slightest on this subject…

Letter to Hilarion Bourrelier, 19 September 1821, EO VI n 72


“Let your only evaluation of worth derive from the awareness of God’s love for you. All other measures leave one in a state of delusion.”      Anonymous

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think that I might want to laugh and cry for young Hilarion and with Eugene. This morning I am pondering a couple of things. I am reminded of this wonderful lady I met while working for the government. She would come around our office each day to empty our garbage cans. She was quite a bit older than me and had the most beautiful smile, there was an openness about her and an incredible gentleness that most in the office seemed to miss. Uneducated but filled with joy. Getting to know her, she was happy with what she did for a living, it paid the bills and allowed her to get out of the house everyday. She lived across the street from a group of French Oblates and would share little stories every day with me once she found out that I was involved with the Oblates. We were able to relate to each other. She was truly happy to be doing what she did. No religious rule of obedience but as Eugene said; “One always does enough when one does only what obedience prescribes. It is only a matter of doing it well, not only exteriorly, but with heart and soul, and then one cannot be other than saved.”

    I think the other is not to measure, not to compare. Something I know and actually live and yet there are times when I forget. Like her I have no rule or obedience imposed or chosen but the reminders and and the learning and support come from others. I do remember the time of wanting to be big and noticed, do very good and important things – maybe make a couple of headlines somewhere, be noticed and remarked on how humble I was. Stop laughing for it is the truth. God continued to embrace me until that mostly slipped away (of course it has not left completely and I still struggle sometimes with that one). I am more than happy where God has brought me to, it is right and it is more than enough. When I stop to look at all I have been given. “Do little things exceedingly well for the love of me.” Doesn’t sound too glamorous, but it does bring joy and peace.

  2. David Morgan says:

    Today’s quote from St Eugene that if obedience were to place him at a door to open and close for those coming and going, he would be happy reminds me of St Brother Andre.

    Brother Andre was the doorman at Notre Dame College in Montreal in the 1930s. Like Hilarion he was not highly educated and not marked to be a great preacher or theologian. He met a lot of people coming and going. They would ask him to say a prayer for them Brother Andre obliged and prayed their intentions to St Joseph. Well you likely know the rest of the story. The humble doorman was beseeched by thousands to pray for them and St Josephs Oratory was constructed across the street.

    Can I be humble and happy? Can the support of a community like the Oblates help me accept my cross in this? I am exploring this with these daily readings. Thanks Frank.

    • John Mouck says:

      Great analogy, Dave…
      a simple, humble man content to open doors and greet people; spent almost his whole life simply talking to people about God and to God about people. Now he is a saint.

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