IF YOU FEEL YOU COULD COMBINE THE DUTIES OF YOUR NEW JOB WITH THOSE OF YOUR VOCATION

In the previous entry we saw how the talented and enthusiastic Fr Louis Dassy had become involved in archaeological pursuits. It was an honor for him that the academic world valued his competence. Eugene, however, was concerned that this young man would lose focus.

Do not think, my dear child, that I am happy about this honour or that I consider this could bring the least glory or advantage to the Congregation. I say even more: if I did not know as I do your activities and your capacity for work, I would consider this incident as something unfortunate, for you would have turned away from your principal ministry, from that which is essentially proper to your vocation and which you could not neglect without lacking in your duties and offending God.

So I have to come to the conclusion that if you feel you could combine the duties of your new job with those of your vocation, that the research, which you may be able to make, serves rather as relaxation than as activity incompatible with the missions, retreats and studies required by this ministry, then I authorize you to respond to the trust that has been placed in you.

But note well, my dear child, that it is your duty first of all to sanctify yourself by advancing in perfection. You will be devoting yourself ardently to archaeological studies which demand lectures, meetings and plenty of time. Weigh all these on the scales of the priesthood and reflect on the quid prodest. etc [Ed: Matthew 16:26 “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”]

Letter to Father Louis Dassy, 29 March 1842, EO IX n 759

 

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1 Response to IF YOU FEEL YOU COULD COMBINE THE DUTIES OF YOUR NEW JOB WITH THOSE OF YOUR VOCATION

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It strikes me this morning how Eugene expresses his love for Fr. Dassy, as his beloved child. There is in it a certain intimacy and it is from this stance that Eugene advises and reminds him that his duty first [is] to sanctify himself by advancing in perfection. Perfection as in becoming holy; perfection as in sanctity; perfection as in saintliness. Perfection as in sharing his experience of God with the world, especially those who are excluded, silenced and ignored. Everything else is just so much fluff.

    Many years ago, during a prolonged visit to Madonna House I noticed that over each door were the words “I am third.” I could not figure it out what it meant and when I asked it was explained: God is first, all in the world are second and I am third.

    I am reminded of Eugene sharing that he had looked for happiness outside of God and found only emptiness and sorrow. It is only when we are touched by God that we are able to recognise what we truly yearn for throughout our lives. Living in the fullness of God’s love lights up our beings in a way that pales all else. All the awards and honor that the world offers are of little value when compared to the transformation of the universe within which takes place in loving and being loved.

    Called to love. I have a friend who is becoming like a child again; unable and even unwilling to figure out that which she has known for many years. It can be difficult and never-ending to help her so that she does not stumble and fall and find herself able to get up again.

    The call to love. Those few words have been making themselves heard over and over again particularly in the past months. God is first, you are second and I am third.

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