In this era of “fake news” and subjectivism, it is interesting to read this comment of Eugene to the superior of the scholasticate, where young Oblates were preparing for their future mission.

It is impossible to insist too much on the importance of study: and not just theology and philosophy, but the humanities too. We must oppose modern errors with up-to-date weapons.
I never cease to be astonished at seeing so many able young writers amongst our enemies, using such art and skill on the side of lies and deceptions of every kind.
We must prepare ourselves for this kind of combat too. We must have a good understanding of our own language and practice to use it well. It will be time well-spent. Get some fire out of that flint stone. You must strike it to start a fire, the spark is only produced by the blow.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 3 January 1831, EO VIII n 377

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It never fails to amaze me how relevant Eugene’s life and writings are in today’s world for both world changing events and for the minutia of our lives and long before anyone coined the phrase “fake news” or “alternative facts” (with the latter being even more insidious than the first). Life in the 1830s (and of course before) was no different in some ways that it is now. Subjectivism did not and does not concern only political matters or things deemed to be ‘religious or spiritual’ but it was carried over into all parts of people’s lives.

    There seems to be an unwritten norm that as long as “I” am happy, fulfilled, rich, important, pretty, (and if we add the word ‘enough’ to all of those) then all will be okay no matter what happens to any other(s). The ‘other’ is then deemed to be wrong, bad, not good enough, too needy, ignorant, non-deserving, etc if they want or ask for what “I” have.

    As a young child I used to think that God was only in the church (building) and then ‘there’ when I said my prayers at night – quite separate though from the rest of my life. Today I believe that God and life with God is not separable from anything else. There is (at least for me) no separation of the world into ‘religious and secular’ – there is one world and we are all in it. Following the French Revolution (and many revolutions throughout time) some tried to separate God and the Church from the everyday lives of people – as if they were parts of two separate universes.

    Eugene treated the ‘whole man’ not just the sacramental life of a person – he did not keep himself or his Oblates only in the church building but went to people where they were living. Very holistic! I thought that we had invented that word, and perhaps in our time we have but that way of being has been around for a long time – it was certainly there in Eugene’s time

  2. Peghanafin says:

    Fr Frank, such true words of wisdom in these times of lies, deceit and spin. Thank you for the wonderful journey you bring to people who follow your teaching. Lovely words to ponder.

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