SURROUNDED BY ALL THESE BLOODTHIRSTY MEN WHO BECOME LIKE LAMBS AT YOUR CALL, THE DAGGERS FALLING FROM THEIR HANDS

Eugene de Mazenod was Superior General of the Oblates, while at the same time being Bishop of Marseilles. He thus had the overall responsibility for the missionary work of the Oblates and took a direct interest in all that they were doing. He rejoiced in their successes.

My dear Father Semeria, every time I receive your letter, I must begin with fervent thanks to God for all that he deigns to do through your ministry.

The Oblates had been on the island of Corsica for six years, in charge of the major seminary and preaching village missions. The island, at that time, was known for violent family feuds and bloodshed. They had just finished a mission in the town of Zicavo where they had managed to be peacemakers among the warring factions.

Zicavo CC BY-SA 3.0

This time I admit that we must even redouble our gratitude for the marvels of this beautiful mission of Zicavo: we have to shed tears of joy.

From here. I see you surrounded by all these bloodthirsty men who become like lambs at your call, the daggers falling from their hands: they forgive and embrace each other. Oh how beautiful this is! And this moving response: now that their arms, loaded as they were to kill their enemies, now that these latter no longer existed. it was only right that they be shot off in your honour. Yes, that is superb!

Letter to Fr. Etienne Semeria, 16 October 1841, EO IX n 741

Eugene’s joy is that of Jesus who had used the missionaries as His ministers of making God known and bringing about God’s reconciliation.

At that time Jesus said, I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:25-29)

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1 Response to SURROUNDED BY ALL THESE BLOODTHIRSTY MEN WHO BECOME LIKE LAMBS AT YOUR CALL, THE DAGGERS FALLING FROM THEIR HANDS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    The idea of men shooting guns into the sky to celebrate – while I know that is still practiced in some countries today it is not something I would like to witness let alone be the cause of.

    I stop myself for a moment – thinking of all of the different practices around the world that were the norm for different peoples and how the Oblates who were sent out witnessed, endured, lived with during their lifetimes. Different cultures and practices, different foods and different lifestyles.

    I am reminded of what Joseph Gerard and Albert Lacombe, met and how they spent their lives with peoples of different practices that were a times very difficult for them to accept. Yet they came to love the peoples they ministered to and served. There was joy in being with them and celebrating their customs.

    The early Oblates and those in our present times have learned to trust in God totally, to surrender and love. My own experience of learning to live in and during the pandemic. It has been a great leveler around the world and we have all had to make changes in how we live in order to safeguard ourselves as much as possible; but even more how to protect those we love and serve no matter the cost to our personal habits, wishes and sensibilities.

    Perhaps the secret is simply to not measure, perhaps the secret is to just learn to accept and live in new ways. I do know it has helped me somehow to let go of old ideas, habits and ways; it has taught me to look, recognize and meet Jesus in others around me.

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