1813: The beginning of Eugene’s preaching to the most abandoned

Come now and learn from us what you are in the eyes of faith.
Poor of Jesus Christ, afflicted, wretched, suffering, sick, covered with sores, etc., all you whom misery oppresses, my brothers, dear brothers, respected brothers, listen to me.
You are God’s children, the brothers of Jesus Christ, heirs to his eternal kingdom, chosen portion of his inheritance…
…let your eyes see for once beneath the rags that cover you, there is within you an immortal soul made in the image of God whom it is destined to possess one day, a soul ransomed at the price of the blood of Jesus Christ, more precious in the eyes of God than all earth’s riches, than all the kingdoms of the earth, a soul of which he is more jealous than of the government of the entire universe.
Christians, know then your dignity…

Notes for the first instruction in the Church of the Madeleine, E.O. XV n. 114

But called by my vocation to be the servant and priest of the poor to whose service I would like to be able to devote my whole life, I cannot help being touched when I see the eagerness of the poor to hear my voice;

Instruction at the Madeleine on the fourth Sunday of Lent, E.O. XV n. 115

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This speaks so clearly to me and I love this homily. It is filled with love, understanding and an invitation to move past that which our lives can seem to be encased in. Certainly for me to move past, or not be bound up in my woundedness, to look past the feelings for it goes deeper than just those feelings.

    There is always a mental image of the people that Eugene is speaking to. Their immediate physical lives are not necessarily going to change as one might imagine. They will still be poor and will have to struggle, they will continue to farm the land, or be trades people, to be servants to those who have much more than them in the way of physical goods. But if they “know”, realise and experience the love of God then it will all change.

    Do I believe that I am “more precious in the eyes of God than all earth’s riches”? What are the rags that I wear? Do I cover myself in the tatters of my wounds, my hurts. Do I really want to see past them, let them go? What would my life look like then?

    I sit this morning looking at two small pieces of stone that I have on my table before me. One, a small broken piece of marble that was once a part of an old altar in our church, it has the smooth polished side full of beauty, while the other sides are rather messy and rough to look at. The second is a small piece of masonry that comes from the renovation of the mission house at Aix, old, very unassuming and ordinary, no beauty at all in that piece save for the memory of where it has come from. Both pieces on display, small touchstones. They are the both and.

    Eugene said; “Come now and learn from us what you are in the eyes of faith”. This is what happens each time I come here and enter into the conversation. Wow! What does that say?

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