BIRTHDAY OF SAINT EUGENE DE MAZENOD: AUGUST 1, 1782

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” (Voltaire)

Let us give thanks for the gift of a saint who was so human in all his imperfections, who knew the pain of exile and a broken family, who passionately loved Jesus the Savior and the poor and most abandoned and who is now a saint who intercedes for us.

(For a presentation of his life please see: https://www.omiworld.org/our-charism/founder/biography/)

LET US PRAY IN THANKSGIVING

God our Father, we thank you for having called Saint Eugene de Mazenod to follow Christ the Saviour and Evangelizer.

Passionately in love with your Son Jesus and sharing in his compassion for humanity Eugene put himself unconditionally
at the service of your Church for the evangelization of those most in need.

Through his intercession help us to reach out with the healing touch of Christ who calls us to holiness and to mission.
May we build communities
which are signs of your presence,
and share the Good News of salvation with all peoples.

For this we dedicate ourselves, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Eugene de Mazenod,
Share with us your love for Christ the Saviour.

Saint Eugene de Mazenod,
Help us to stand firm in goodness.

Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Be with us in all our efforts.

https://www.omiworld.org/our-charism/founder/prayers/

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ARE YOU HEARING SAINT EUGENE DE MAZENOD AS HE SPEAKS?

On August 1 we will begin to journey again with the writings of Saint Eugene. Our journey began on May 1, 2010 and in the subsequent 12 years, over 2700 entries have been published in English, and translated into French, Spanish and Polish.
Each of the reflections is still available on the website – a treasure-chest of material to invite us to encounter Saint Eugene in the often-flawed humanity that God used to make him a saint, his charism, his mission and spirituality. This is the reason why I produce the daily reflection.

      • You can consult these through the “Archives” section on the main page.
      • Better still, put in a word or concept in the “Search” label at the top of the main page, and all the published texts with that word or theme will appear.
      • Through the search engine you can also find that over the years I have explored themes (e.g. our foundation, the bicentenary, the Youth Association, the 1818 Rule to mention just a few)

More important than having access to the material is to allow the words of Eugene to guide you in your own daily life. Sure, they were written between 206 and 161 years ago in a world totally different from our own – but human nature has not changed that much, and the heart of what he is saying remains relevant to any disciple today, lay or religious. So, I invite you to apply his words to your own situation.
Finally, if you are still one of the lucky ones who receives this material by email, then please occasionally go to the website itself (https://www.eugenedemazenod.net) because the email does not always reproduce any pictures I may have used. There also is the possibility to read some of the responses to what has been written.

    • Unfortunately, the Feedburner provider has stopped this free service of enrolling any new members in the email list. There are alternatives which require the payment of a heavy annual subscription which is beyond the means  of “St Eugene Speaks”.
    • (If you are reading this through the email feed, you may need to go to https://www.eugenedemazenod.net/?p=5207 to see the headings)

 

 

 

 

Finally, my gratitude to all who have been loyal readers and supporters of this service – it is a labor of love which I hope that many find beneficial.

Frank Santucci OMI
Kusenberger Chair of Oblate Studies.
Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio TX

 

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EASTER: SILENT LISTENING FLOWS FROM AND LEADS TO A DEEP LOVE

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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EASTER: THE INVITATION TO DEVELOP A LISTENING HEART

They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’   … He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’ (Luke 24:35-48)

Handed on to his Apostles by Jesus, this word has lost none of its power in the course of the ages. We have experienced the fact that because it issued from the mouth of him who is himself eternal life, it is always spirit and life.”

Eugene de Mazenod, Pastoral Letter 1844

Today we can understand in a deeper way the experience of the disciples locked in the upper room because they were afraid. The risen Jesus appeared to them and opened their minds to his presence in the Scriptures. Let us invite the Risen Jesus to penetrate the walls of our “upper room” today and give him time to open our minds to understand how present he is whenever we read the Word of God.

Our OMI Rule of Life, totally impregnated by the spirit of St Eugene can be applied to every disciple today:

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 Saviour 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)

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EASTER WITH THE WORD OF GOD – MAY OUR HEARTS BURN WITHIN US

Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us? (Luke 24,32)

The downcast disciples returning to Emmaus had lost all sense of purpose. The one they had pinned their hopes on had been put to death, and all that he stood for had disappeared. No more dreams or inspiring ideals… it was time to return home and shut themselves in.

Luke 24:13-35 narrates how they became aware that a “stranger” was walking with them and entered into their experience and opened their eyes.

Here we understand the meaning of Easter: the realization that Jesus Christ is alive and enters into the reality of our lives. Easter is the opening of our eyes and hearts and lives to his presence.

During Easter we are invited to spend time with Scripture. Like the disciples let us let him explain his Word to us and set our hearts on fire in our everyday existence.

Saint Eugene’s life was dedicated to explaining the Good News of salvation to those who were most in need. He and his missionaries wanted the hearts of all those who listened to burn within them. The invitation he wrote in the Rule of 1818 continues today:

Our one and only aim should be to instruct people…
not only to break the bread of the Word for them but to chew it for them as well;
in a word, to ensure that when our discourses are over,
they are not tempted to heap foolish praise on what they have not understood,
but, instead, that they go back home edified, touched, instructed, able to repeat in their own family circle what they have learned from our mouth.

At times we feel like those disciples who wanted to shut themselves into their own isolation in Emmaus. Let’s open our eyes to recognize the presence of the Risen Jesus alongside us.  Let us spend some time with his Gospel. As we break the bread of the Word, he helps us to chew it – and our hearts will burn within us.

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 LET US MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO PROCLAIM “I HAVE SEEN THE RISEN LORD”

“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’ And she told them that he had said these things to her.” John 20,18

Mary Magdalene was the first to recognize that Jesus was risen and she rushed to tell the disciples who were fearfully isolated in the upper room. “I have seen the Lord!” she proclaimed. Initially incredulous, they too began to experience that Jesus was alive.

As a result of the French Revolution the people of the countryside of France were locked in their ignorance of their faith. Eugene de Mazenod had recognized the presence of the Risen Jesus in his life, and he dedicated his life to proclaiming “I have seen the Lord!” to those who were the most needy of coming to know the Risen Lord.

Inviting others to enter into his life of proclamation, he founded the Missionary Oblates, and insisted that their time be divided between “seeing the Lord” in prayer, reading and reflection and the proclamation, “I have seen the Lord!” whom they had encountered in this way:

The Missionaries will divide their group in such a way that while some strive in community to acquire the virtues and knowledge proper to a good missionary, others are travelling in the rural areas proclaiming the Word of God.
 When their apostolic journeys are over, they will return to the community to rest from their labours by exercising a ministry that is less demanding, and to prepare themselves through meditation and study for a more fruitful ministry when next called upon to undertake new work.

Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, EO XIII n.2

In these days, let us use this time in a similar way so that each day we too can proclaim “I have seen the Lord! He is risen and alive for me!”

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OUR RISEN LORD INVITES US TO A SPIRIT OF RECOLLECTION

“Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.” (Matthew 28, 10)

Photo by Sammy Chandio on Unsplash

The Risen Jesus tells the disciples to go back to Galilee: “They will see me there.” Galilee is where it all began for the disciples, it was the place where they met Jesus, and he entered into their lives.

Today, the Risen Lord tells each of us: “Go back to Galilee – go back to that time when you realized that I was present in your life.”

The Risen Jesus is inviting us to enter into the Galilee of our hearts and lives.

Saint Eugene frequently did this, and he called it recollection. He wanted all those who followed his way of discipleship to do the same, as he wrote in his Rule of 1818:

The whole life of the members of our Society ought to be a life of continual recollection (Art. 1).

To attain this, they will first of all make every effort to walk always in the presence of God, and frequently try to utter short but fervent  spontaneous prayers. (Art.2,)

Eugene and Jesus shared a deep bond of friendship – and a friend always wants to be in the presence of a loved one. His days are filled with moments of recollection – of short bursts of prayer and expressions of love.

During this Easter season, this is what Eugene invites us to do in a special way i n our troubled world.

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ORAISON: JOIN THE MAZENODIAN FAMILY IN PRAYER TODAY

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EASTER: TO RECOGNIZE AND ANNOUNCE THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION

Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil 3: 10).

OMI Constitutions and Rules, Constitution 4

After journeying with him through the sad event of his Passion, after weeping over the torments that our sins made him endure, how consoling it is to see him rise triumphant over death and hell, and what gratitude must fill our hearts at the thought that this good Master has really willed to make us sharers in his resurrection, destroying the sin that is in us and giving us a new life.

Eugene de Mazenod  to his mother, 4 April 1809, EO XIV n 50

Icon by Oblate Partner, Lauretta Agolli

“We announce the liberating presence of Jesus Christ and the new world born in his resurrection”

OMI Constitutions and Rules, Constitution 4

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HOLY SATURDAY: WE FEEL CLOSE TO HER WHO IS THE MOTHER OF MERCY

We shall always look on her as our mother.

In the joys and sorrows of our missionary life, we feel close to her who is the Mother of Mercy.

OMI Rule of Life,  CC&RR Constitution 10

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