The nature of the commitment that Eugene and the Missionaries were about to take on was changed by their vows and oblation. It was no longer a temporary membership that could be ended when they tired of it – they would now be committed to this ideal and way of life for the rest of their days.

In this light Eugene realized even more forcefully that on his role of leadership depended not only the welfare of the group, but the salvation of those to whom they ministered.

It is not without fear that I consider the enormous obligations the Lord imposed on me when he assigned me so extensive and important a ministry.
To think of it! on my fidelity in responding to God’s grace, – for this help is always in proportion to needs, – depends perhaps the salvation of a multitude of souls.
If I am fervent the community at whose head I am placed will grow in fervour and whole populations will feel the influence of this growth in zeal and love.
If on the contrary I am lazy, the community will thereby suffer a great loss, and the people will be the victims, and since it was my duty to bring down on both the former and the latter an infinity of graces of perfection or conversions on the day of judgment they will all rise up against me to ask for an account of the treasure I deprived them of by my fault.

The thought frightens him:

I confess that this thought is so terrifying that I would have been tempted to succumb to discouragement and renounce working for others’ salvation.
Yet, all the experiences that he has lived through since the foundation of the Missionaries, three years before, convince him that he is doing what God wants.
But I became convinced that this was not the surest approach, since as the Lord has shown me his will both through the voice of superiors and by the successful results with which, notwithstanding so many obstacles and oppositions, he crowned all the works be assigned me, I would not escape the condemnation I fear by fleeing the field and returning to the peace and quiet I yearn for.

Day’s Retreat, during th community retreat, 30 October 1818,
EO XV n. 148

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of Jesus and his agony in the garden – the fears and jeers that he has carried, the hatred and disdain he has faced and endured and I think of the immense weight he will carry on his shoulders.

    This morning I see Jesus as model in a very real and deeper way. Eugene entering a new stage of life – with eyes that are fully opened, with an awareness of the responsibility he will carry. There is no room here for self-glory – for he knows he has been lead here by God. We are all being led here to this point in our lives.

    Yesterday I spent time watching a video of Oblates from all corners of the world – who have walked in the footsteps of Eugene and surrendered themselves to follow Jesus their model and to give themselves totally to those who are some of the most abandoned. The video was a celebration of the lives of so many Oblates and one in particular I was drawn to – Fr. Vincenzo Bordo whose short video I had watched a day or two earlier. A man filled with joy, life and love.

    I wonder what it was like to walk with Jesus resurrected – the man transformed so utterly. And St. Paul as he began his preaching. I wonder what it was like to look at Eugene at the end of this retreat 200 years ago. I know he was human and as imperfect as any and all of us – and yet I am sure that I know what his look of love was like. For some reason Blessed Joseph Gerard comes to mind, as does do many of the saints – just as Fr. Vincenzo has entered my thoughts. I think of Kay Cronin HOMI and Catherine Doherty – oh how I struggled with her. Not all but many who have been and are a part of our glorious Mazenodian Family – many walking in the footsteps of Eugene.

    Eugene help me to walk in your footsteps. Just as you walked in the footsteps of Jesus. For it was you who invited me here this morning, it is you who told me to stand at the foot of my crucifix, and it has been you and yours who guide me and walk with me as I try to fill those same footsteps in my own life.

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