Eugene was ordained to the priesthood on 21 December 1811 and celebrated his “First Mass” on Christmas Eve. He invited his mother to be united with him in a special way.

Dear mother, be one with me on Christmas Eve, join in the holy mysteries in Aix while I celebrate them for you in Amiens, in the most fervent of; let each of us for our own part speak our minds to our good Master who assuredly will be quite unable to say no on such a wonderful day…

Letter to his mother, 8 December 1811, EO XIV n. 96

After his ordination, the custom was to spend more days in retreat in preparation for celebrating Mass for the first time. On the day of his ordination had written in anticipation:

I leave you now, dear, darling mother. I have three days still to get used to the idea that I am a priest and prepare to celebrate the divine mysteries on the delightful night our lovable Saviour is born in a stable…

Letter to his mother after his priestly ordination, 21 December 1811, EO XIV n.97

How am I preparing to celebrate the delightful night our lovable Savior was born in a stable?

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Years ago Bing Crosby and David Bowie got together – each of them singing a different Christmas Carol at the same time (The Little Drummer Boy – Peace on Earth – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9kfdEyV3RQ). It was so beautiful – neither competed with the other but simply shared the gifts they were given.
    I realise that until I met St. Eugene I had never heard words like ‘lovable’, ‘delightful’ and ‘adorable’ used to describe our Saviour – to describe our King – our God.
    Our lovable Saviour
    The image is not of some powerful king who lives in a far and fenced-off castle with powerful armies to carry out his wishes. The image that comes to me this morning is of the migrant caravan with thousands of people leaving their homes in Central and South America – fleeing and looking for a safe place to live. They have reached what seems to be an impenetrable wall, a border and so they have no place to lay their heads, to give birth to their children and to feed each other. Dependant on the goodness of others.
    Our lovable Saviour
    I remember how Gerry Wiesner OMI gave a talk some years ago about sheep and their shepherds and how the sheep rely on their shepherds to live and eat and ‘be’ what they have been created to be. I think of the shepherds and their sheep who came to adore and be present to and with Jesus lying there in Mary’s arms, in a stable, totally dependent.
    Our lovable Saviour
    How do I prepare? Circumstances this year do not allow me to “do” a lot – even the small hidden things that I do in loving service to my parish so that we might all celebrate the birth of our Saviour together. The day will be quiet and I will rest up so that I am not half asleep at Midnight Mass. I will be like those shepherds and sheep – simply being there with others – to adore and ‘be’ with our lovable Saviour’.
    Peace on earth… my love to all.

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