THE SACRIFICE OF HIS LIFE TO GOD
Father Ricard was chosen to be the leader of the first Oblate mission in the USA because he had all the necessary qualities and shared Eugene’s missionary vision and spirituality.
To found the mission of Oregon, a mission so remote and difficult, I needed an alter ego. He had to have virtue, good sense, love of regularity, real attachment to the Congregation and conformity of views and thoughts with the head of the family from whom he would be separated by 3000 leagues, a devout and experienced man full of the spirit of God, imbued with my spirit, who acts by himself as I myself would act. Only Father Ricard combined all these qualities.
He did suffer from poor health, however.
But although he would have asked for it in time, I had good reasons to fear that he would have repugnance in accepting this mission. Yet on receiving my letter he went down into the lower church of Notre Dame de Lumières and made the sacrifice of his life to God. After that he took leave of everyone and came to me quite disposed to fulfil his mission. The courage and joy of his companions strengthened still more his resolution.
Letter to Fr. Bruno Guigues, in Canada, 24 January 1847, EO I n 80
In the final analysis, then, the true witness is the “martyr”, the one who gives his or her life for Christ, reciprocating the gift that he has made to us of himself. “The primary reason for evangelizing is the love of Jesus which we have received, the experience of salvation which urges us to ever greater love of him” (Pope Francis)
Today, may my focus be on the love of Jesus so as to allow my actions to speak louder than my words.
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It can sometimes be so easy to ignore/forget that the very nature of Jesus is love and so focus only on the world’s image of having to succeed in power and wealth and so to judge anything less than that narrow focus affords us.
Last night at RCIA one of the catechumens who is high school teacher talked about how the only thing she was capable of doing was in how she lived out the ordinary actions of her life, one step at a time. She looked down as she spoke, seemingly embarrassed at her inability to live out some kind of a “wow” factor. I responded with the comment that was how the ordinary was transformed into the extraordinary.
Lord it is a new day and you seem to again greet me, standing before me, your hand outstretched and beckoning as you smile and whisper “come”… and my response is simply to offer you myself in a sacrifice of love to do with me as you will. Give me the grace yet again to have my ‘doing’ be the fruit of our being…