Thirty years later, Eugene still vividly remembered the struggle he had in order to go against his mother’s opposition to his vocation. Her reaction, and that of his grandmother, must have been very extreme for him to use such strong language so many years later:

I renounced the comforts of a private life and I violently tore myself loose from the embraces of maternal tenderness, personified above all in the person of my grandmother for whom I was an idol;
and after a prelude of some works of charity among the sick and the prisoners, I embraced the ecclesiastical state
because it was only in this state that I could realize that which my heart inspired me to do for the salvation and consequently for the true happiness of people.

Diary, 31 March 1839, EO XX

The intensity of the gaze of the Savior had certainly penetrated his heart and he was compelled to dedicate himself to bringing others to what he experienced as the only source of true happiness – whatever the personal cost.

“The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37

To complete the picture, it must be said that Madame de Mazenod was to become one of her priest-son’s greatest supporters. Without her help many missionary projects for the “true happiness of people” would not have been possible.

DeMazenod_200th_banner English

“Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me!”    M. Luther (Words spoken in a very different context, but very applicable to all decisions regarding our relationship with God)

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Eugene could do no less than give God his all, everything. I think back to the days following my ‘conversion’, my first experience of God and his wondrous love. I was a young woman becoming transformed. I thought, I knew, that for me the only way that I would be able to love would be to give of myself totally in every possible way to God, with all of my love focused to and on God, and in that way I would be able to love everybody. It was not a lessening of love for those around me. It was just that I knew – it was the only way that would work for me.

    That has not changed today. I left my family home so to speak and came east not really knowing what I needed or even what God was calling me to. Those were simply the beginning steps. Each step brought/brings me closer to where God would have me be, for he continues to call, lead and carry me – giving me all that I need. Isn’t it wondrous for he has given me the Oblates in a very special way – like an adopted daughter of Eugene – Eugene who I have come to love so dearly along with the Oblates. A family but not the kind that my parents or siblings expected me to be a part of. It did not lessen my love for any others but because I am where God has planted me my love is stronger than it could be otherwise.

    Eugene who has said that it is in leading others to salvation that we become saved. I begin to understand that now. I think of Eugene letting go of everything to love God as only God could ordain. This would be his way to salvation; by helping and leading other to it, he would attain his own. It has been similar with me, only I’m not a headliner like Eugene, but am rather hidden and do small ordinary tasks so as to allow others to be led by whoever God sends. It was not that Eugene’s mother’s love was not enough, or that a spouse and children’s love would not be enough – it was/is most simply that Jesus’s heart will always trump everything else.

    I peeked out my window before entering into this sacred space. Still dark outside but strangely bright. There is snow on the ground, not a lot, but just enough to light a smile that transforms me from the inside out. There is a quiet delight in seeing this gift. I love the summer and heat and green that comes with it – but today with this small amount of snow I take special delight. This is what happens when we let perfect love trump all else.

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