The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish. (John 21: 7-8)

In John 21:1-14, the disciples had returned to their normal occupation of fishing and the Risen Jesus appeared to them in the midst their everyday activity. They did not recognize him at first, but it was love that opened their eyes.

St Eugene had always loved the Risen Jesus present in his Word. In 1837, before becoming Bishop of Marseilles, he looked back on 55 years of lovingly listening to the Word of God:

I give you thanks, O Lord, for having made shine forth this light from the sacred deposit of your Holy Scriptures. As you show me the way I should follow, and give me the desire to follow it, you will also give me the powerful help of your grace.

René Motte OMI, who made a study of the role of Scripture in the life of St Eugene gives us some practical advice on how we can develop the same attitude as the disciples at the time of Jesus and disciple Eugene. Circumstances today make it more possible for all of us to spend time with the Word of God in this loving attitude:

Silence is necessary, silence to listen to Jesus Christ who speaks in the Bible. Silent listening is generous, since it flows from a deep love. That is what the Oblates [ed. and all members of the Mazenodian family] are called upon to experience “in joy”, says the Founder. They are happy to be in intimate union with Christ, enjoying his word. Thus the mouth will speak from the abundance of the heart (see Matthew 12:34). Consequently, the reading of Scripture is not limited to study; it must be seen in the context of an encounter with Christ. It is thus a listening to his word received as a personal message. (“Sacred Scripture” in Dictionary of Oblate Values: https://www.omiworld.org/lemma/sacred-scripture/)

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think of the clutter and noise of my mind when I try to be silent. I think of how my human instinct is to try and fill that silence with thoughts and words.

    I think of our practice of Oraison, of our meditation, contemplation… and how we are carried into the presence of God. I look at what I have written and realise that it is not I who enters into this silence of love but that I am carried.

    That place in our hearts where we sit and wait, to hear God’s voice.

    “Silent listening is generous, since it flows from a deep love.” That deep love is not just our natural selves trying to say, “here I am God” but rather God saying to each of us “Here I am, see how I love you.”

    We are drawn into it, carried, held, one with, outside of time and matter.

    The Word of God. It is not so much about who actually wrote it down, or who the writer was speaking to – which of course might help in our understanding: it is about how greatly we are loved, so much so that Jesus gave his life for us, out of that vast flow of love.

    I have spent my time here just sitting, and doing some writing, and turning from the keyboard and screen to sit and be, watching the dawn begin and sun burning in its reflection in the windows.

    Hearing the words “see how I love you.” The greatness and glory of God given and shared with us.

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