THEY COME AMONG US TO SEEK ASYLUM AND THE HELP TO WHICH THEIR SUFFERINGS ENTITLE THEM

Writing to the priests of his diocese, in 1840, about the civil war in Spain, Bishop de Mazenod made them aware of the suffering of their fellow-priests in exile from persecution:

Since a number of years the disorders happening in Spain are bringing to our city a large number of priests from this nation. Forced to flee an anti-Catholic persecution which is linked to their fidelity to the true principles of the Church, they come among us to seek asylum and the help to which their sufferings entitle them.

In order to help them it was necessary to appeal to the people of Marseilles.

Neither you nor I have up to now neglected to show them the solicitude which efficaciously satisfies the duties of hospitality required by charity. However, day by day they are becoming too numerous in our city for our resources to cope adequately for their needs. The time has now come to appeal to the charity of the faithful, in the name of the faith that is being persecuted in the person of these venerable exiles.

(Quoted in Selected Oblate Studies and Texts,  p. 312)

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1 Response to THEY COME AMONG US TO SEEK ASYLUM AND THE HELP TO WHICH THEIR SUFFERINGS ENTITLE THEM

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Eugene himself knew what it was like to be on the receiving end of religious persecution: he had suffered greatly for years because of his “own fidelity to the true principles of the Church”.

    Sometimes we might find ourselves defending our own narrow beliefs and values which might make us feel better about ourselves, but they are not neither Christian nor charitable. They come from our very own woundedness and sin.

    I am reminded of the parable in Luke 18 of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying in the temple; the Pharisee informed God that he was not like other sinners and that he followed all the rules and practices of the time while the tax collector knew he was a sinner and begged God to forgive him.

    Today we hear a lot about systemic racism and biases; and many of us would argue that we are not a part of that. Yesterday, walking home with a friend we noticed the Food Truck from the Mission was handing out lunches to a long line of people waiting to be fed. A man passed by us, carrying a bag of groceries and my companion informed the man that he should cross the street to the truck and get a free meal. The man looked at her and asked her if she thought he looked like he needed a free meal and then kept walking. The man was Indigenous, and my friend thought he should be grateful that she pointed out the food truck to him. A bias on the part of my friend who did not understand and thought she was being truly Christian.

    It was upsetting but I quickly forgot about it until this morning. Faced with Eugene’s words and his call for charitable hospitality I have been forced to look at my own biases. Sadly, I recognize some and I realise I am more like the Pharisee than I thought possible. I enter (again) the realm of the tax collector and ask for forgiveness. It is a small step forward as I walk with Eugene.

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