THURSDAY III LENT: develop a listening heart

“Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.” (Jer. 7:23)

The Word of God nourishes our spiritual life and apostolate. We will not only study it diligently but also develop a listening heart, so that we may come to a deeper knowledge of the Savior whom we love and wish to reveal to the world. This immersion in God’s Word will enable us to understand better the events of history in the light of faith.

(OMI Constitutions and Rules, C.33)


I keep my steps from every evil path, that I may observe your word. From your judgments I do not turn, for you have instructed me.
How sweet to my tongue is your promise, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I gain understanding; therefore I hate all false ways.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.

Psalm 119:101-105

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WEDNESDAY III LENT: Let our confidence not rest in our own understanding but in your guiding hand

“But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”    (Lk. 5:19)

All should be persuaded that it is easier to achieve this end by example than by words. Hence, we must convince ourselves that it is indispensable that we should practice all the virtues, and not be unacquainted with any of them.

Eugene de Mazenod’s 1818 Rule, Part 1, Chapter 3, §1 Preaching


Grant us patience, O Lord, to follow the road you have taken.
Let our confidence not rest in our own understanding but in your guiding hand;
let our desires not be for our own comfort,
but for the joy of your kingdom;
for your cross is our hope and our joy now and unto the day of eternity. Amen.

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TUESDAY III LENT: since my infancy you have led me as if by the hand

Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. Deliver us by your wonders…(Dn 3:42-43)

But no, you are my Father, it is you who since the most fragile days of my infancy have led me as if by the hand. Everything you have done for me in the course of my life is too present to my memory, I feel again still today too vividly the effects not to count on your infinite goodness, not to throw myself with total abandon into your paternal bosom, fully resolved to do this time and always everything you demand of me, were it to cost me my life. 

Eugene de Mazenod’s Retreat journal before being consecrated bishop, 7-14 October 1832, EO XV n 166


Lord Jesus,
You opened the eyes of the blind,
healed the sick,
forgave the sinful woman,
and after Peter’s denial confirmed him in your love.

Listen to my prayer:
forgive all my sins,
renew your love in my heart,
help me to live in perfect unity with my fellow Christians
that I may proclaim your saving power to all the world. 

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MONDAY III LENT: let us always have the tenderness of a father towards all

“No prophet is accepted in his own native place.” (Lk. 4: 24)

We are the ministers of his mercy, and so let us always have the tenderness of a father towards all; let us easily forget the insults that are sometimes committed against us in the exercise of our ministry as the good Lord wishes to forget the offences continually being committed against him. The father of the prodigal son was not content with putting the best robe on him and having a ring put on his finger, he had the fatted calf killed as well.

Letter to Bruno Guigues, 20 February 1837, EO IX n 605



Lord, make me a channel of Your peace,
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to Eternal Life.

(Prayer of St. Francis)


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SUNDAY III LENT: regenerated in the saving waters of baptism

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst;  the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”    (Jn. 4: 13-15)

It is then the mercies of the Lord I must proclaim… for he has quite exhausted the treasures of his grace for my sake…

Beginning with the happy moment when, regenerated in the saving waters of baptism, I was raised to the awesome dignity of child of God, filled with the gifts of my Saviour, I could more easily count the successive and rapid movements of my breathing than the number of the inestimable benefits that this adorable Master has poured out on me in generous measure.

Spiritual conference given by Eugene de Mazenod, 19 March 1809, EO XIV n 48


We thank you and praise you, O God,
that however we may thirst,
whatever we may need to satisfy our souls,
you offer it freely and abundantly in Christ;

So we drink deep of the living water
and, as we draw from your wells,
we seek to pass the cup to others
who, like us, are thirsty for your grace.


Cf John van de Laar (

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SATURDAY II LENT: You carried this rebel on your shoulders, warmed him against your heart, washed his wounds.

I shall get up and go to my father… (Lk. 15:18)

You are my special benefactor and applied your merits in an altogether special way to me; my generous friend, you forgot all my acts of ingratitude to help me as powerfully as if I had been always faithful to you; my tender father, who carried this rebel on your shoulders, warmed him against your heart, washed his wounds.

Eugene de Mazenod’s experience of  being the prodigal son (EO XIV n. 95          


O most tender and most loving of all Fathers! You are willing to receive this prodigal child, to change my affliction into joy, and misery into happiness. Who can sufficiently admire such an excess of goodness! I detest from my soul my past disorders…Sincerely do I desire to return to you my Father: all my thoughts, affections, desires, and actions, shall serve this day as so many steps towards my return to you.

(The Catholic prayer book and manual of meditations)

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FRIDAY II LENT: the happy outcome of the steps we took

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.”  (Mt.21:42)

In the 1820’s the policy of the Vatican was not to grant official recognition and approval to the countless new religious congregations that were being founded after the Revolution in France. Eugene was thus overwhelmed when the Pope ignored this and gave the Missionary Oblates official approbation. He wrote to the Oblates:

Do you realise that nothing ever has been seen so astonishing as this? Those whose duty it is to deal with such matters are the first to make this remark and to be all the more surprised with the happy outcome of the steps we took, all of them inspired, directed, blessed by God, inasmuch as the policy was no longer to do anything of the sort and I, being here and pursuing my endeavor with the help of the Master of hearts, have seen many fail and not obtain what they asked for. 

Eugene de Mazenod to his Oblate Family, 18 February 1826, EO VII, n. 226        

O Lord, remind me to be strong and steadfast; to have no fear or dread of others, for it is you, my God, who marches with me; God will never fail me or forsake me. (cf. Dt. 31:6)

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THURSDAY II LENT: Give them, through our hands, this day their daily bread

There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. (Lk. 16:19-20)

I worry little about the infinitely small number of bourgeois people who have not yet shown any sign of good will… In any case, their souls are not worth more or less than those of the least peasants, if we consider them in terms of the price the Lord has paid for them.

Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, 28 February 1837, EO IX n 606


Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our brothers and sisters throughout the world, who live and die in poverty and hunger.

Give them, through our hands, this day their daily bread, and by our understanding love, give them peace and joy.

Make us, Lord, worthy to serve our brothers and sisters, scattered all over the world, who live and die alone and poor.

Give them today, using our hands, their daily bread and, using our love, give them peace and happiness. Amen.

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WEDNESDAY II LENT: I confess my weakness and place my confidence in your strength and power

Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” 
They said to him, “We can.” 
He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink. (Mt. 20:22-23)

Our Lord Jesus Christ has left to us the task of continuing the great work of the redemption of mankind. It is towards this unique end that all our efforts must tend; as long as we will not have spent our whole life and given all our blood to achieve this, we can say nothing; especially when as yet we have given only a few drops of sweat and a few spells of fatigue.

Letter of Eugene de Mazenod to Father Tempier, August 22, 1817


Eternal Father, I offer you whatever I shall do this day and renounce all search for selfish satisfaction. I confess my weakness and place my confidence in your strength and power.

Eternal Word, I offer you all my thoughts and words this day and I reject beforehand all presumption and ambition, all that may be vain and useless. In your light and wisdom only do I place my hope. Holy Spirit of God, to you I consecrate all the affections of my heart. I renounce the disorder of my natural inclinations and desire only that holiness and love which is your gift to us.

Eternal Father, let me seek the fullness of your perfection. Son of God, let me walk only in your light. Holy Spirit of God, fill me with the wisdom of your love.

(Oblate Prayer Book pgs. 18-19)

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TUESDAY II LENT: Encouraged  by a desire to serve you

Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Mt. 23:11-12)

Encouraged however by a desire to serve you, we placed all our trust in the Lord and our hope has not been in vain, as the outcome has been that the holy Word transmitted to you has received an eager welcome… 

But called by my vocation to be the servant and priest of the poor to whose service I would like to be able to devote my whole life, I cannot help being touched when I see the eagerness of the poor to hear my voice

Eugene de Mazenod’s sermon to the poor of Aix en Provence, 1813


Lord Jesus, when you walked the earth, Your humility obscured your Kingship. Your meekness confused the arrogant.

Teach me to model after your eminence,
To subject my human nature to humility.
Grant me with a natural inclination
To never view myself greater than anyone.

Banish all lingering sparks of self-importance
That could elevate me greater than you.
Let my heart always imitate your humility.

Adapted from

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