Mary Magdalene was the first to recognize that Jesus was risen and she rushed to tell the disciples who were fearfully isolated in the upper room. “I have seen the Lord!” she proclaimed. Initially incredulous, they too began to experience that Jesus was alive.

As a result of the French Revolution the people of the countryside of France were locked in their ignorance of their faith. Eugene de Mazenod had recognized the presence of the Risen Jesus in his life, and he dedicated his life to proclaiming “I have seen the Lord!” to those who were the most needy of coming to know the Risen Lord.

Inviting others to enter into his life of proclamation, he founded the Missionary Oblates, and insisted that their time be divided between “seeing the Lord” in prayer, reading and reflection and the proclamation, “I have seen the Lord!” whom they had encountered in this way:

The Missionaries will divide their group in such a way that while some strive in community to acquire the virtues and knowledge proper to a good missionary, others are travelling in the rural areas proclaiming the Word of God.
 When their apostolic journeys are over, they will return to the community to rest from their labours by exercising a ministry that is less demanding, and to prepare themselves through meditation and study for a more fruitful ministry when next called upon to undertake new work.

Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, EO XIII n.2

In these days when so many of us are in isolation, let us use this time in a similar way so that each day we too can proclaim “I have seen the Lord! He is risen and alive for me!”

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “I have seen the Lord!” she proclaimed. Oh! How often I have wished to see the face of the Lord and to feel his breath caress my heart.

    “…they too began to experience that Jesus was alive” I too have experienced that Jesus is alive and so know the face of my Risen Lord. And I recognize him in the poor whom I serve. I recognize him in the members of my communities, in those who I study with and those who I walk with in this journey of life.

    “The Lord will provide”. The very words that Abraham called the place where he built an altar to offer sacrifice. The Lord will provide. Even and most specially in these times of a pandemic.

    It is most obvious perhaps when we go on a retreat, when we withdraw from the busyness of the world so as to enter into the quiet and stillness and hear God whisper our name. But this time there has been no escape, and once again as we enter lockdowns; accompanied by our fears and anxieties as well as yearning for peace and a deeper freedom.

    Our Risen Lord does provide, not waiting for us to seek him out, but like the father of the prodigal son, he runs out to meet us, gathering us into an embrace and bringing us home.

    We will find him; we will see and experience him not just “out there” but in and with and through our brothers and sisters. I think of Eugene’s words in his letter to the Capitular Vicars of Aix and of the words of the Oblate motto. When it is time we will once again go out to share the Good News, to evangelize. But for now, during this pandemic and the measures demanded of us to keep each other save we will content ourselves with being evangelized by our crucified and risen Saviour and by each other.

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