Scholastic brother Marius Bernard, who was preparing for his diaconate ordination, was part of the mission team. They had him teaching catechism three times per day, but Eugene saw this as an exaggeration that was putting undue demands on the people

How could you think of having Brother Bernard give catechism three times a day? That is impossible; besides it must not be presumed that country people may leave their work in order to be there; we have always been considerate of the daily welfare of these poor people and it would not be right to force them to die of hunger or not be admitted to the sacrament of confirmation if they have not received it.
… I cannot insist too much in counselling mildness, graciousness, to your neighbour.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, 27 January 1824, EO VI n. 127


“Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.”   Margaret Chase Smith

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This speaks to me so much today. It is a continuation from yesterday in how do we serve those we love. It reminds me to look, really look at who I am serving . It reminds me that the letter of the law cannot and must not be the end in itself. Are these absolutes?

    Eugene and those early missionaries – they went out to serve the people where they lived, in the midst of their poverty. I think of Eugene offering Mass very early in the morning so that people could attend, could receive the sacraments (which we sometimes all but take for granted) before they went to work. He went out to them. He and the others heard confessions for hours and hours on end, they were there as long as they were needed at often great discomfort to themselves. He and those missionaries went out and walked with the people. I am thinking of Jesus coming to the woman at the well. I am thinking of the father who ran out to greet the prodigal son.

    And just as he knew that the message they were trying to share would not be as well received if it was “hammered and rammed down their throats” [reference to the shouting], it also wouldn’t work if people lost their livelihood and became unable to feed their children just so they could learn the catechism. I am not saying we are doing it all wrong, just that sometimes we can stand to look at how we are doing it. Who are we serving? How are we serving? One of the most often heard remarks I hear about the Oblates – they are close to the people, they come to the people. How do I live, do I make people come to me in what I am doing or do I go out to them?

    Who do I love? How do I love? It is on my terms, according to my needs, or do I look and let it be yours that guides me? Do I decide what it really means to love and tell God how it needs to be said and done; or do I open myself to let God use me and work through me?

  2. John Mouck says:

    Yes. If people come to know the Word of God by how we speak to them, by how we treat them, by how they see us treat others, by how we conduct our lives, they will come to know the catechism without ever actually hearing a word of it; they will come to know and understand the bible without ever opening the cover; they will enter into a relationship with God much deeper and more meaningful than words can express. They will become true followers of Jesus, as He wants us all to, because they will see It is good and want to be a part of that…life centred on love, sharing, and gratitude and not fear.

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