Eugene de Mazenod wanted to dedicate himself to the ministry of the missions in Provence. In gathering together his first group of co-workers he wanted that they follow the example of the apostles in their life of devotion and self-denial. He wrote in his memoirs, “I became convinced that in order to obtain the same results from our preaching we would have to walk in the footsteps of the apostles, and as far as we could practice the same virtues as they did. I always thought that our little family should consecrate itself to God and to the service of the Church through the vows of religion.”
The key element in this was a group of men like the apostles who were focused on Jesus Christ as their centre. When he and Fr Tempier exchanged vows in 1816, Eugene de Mazenod wished that all his companions, both in the beginning and all who would follow, would appreciate the full value of the ‘oblation of one’s entire self to God’. The word OBLATION was used long before the congregation had the name Missionary OBLATES. Based on the use of the word ‘oblation’ Eugene always referred to those who had taken vows as ‘OBLATES’.
- The oblation of oneself is the offering of self to God. Reflect on this word oblation. What are the feelings that arise at the suggestion of offering ourselves to God? What in our world encourages the practice of oblation, what hinders us from it?
- Oblation commonly refers to those in consecrated life. Yet as we grow as a De Mazenod family, we are all encouraged to consider ways in which we can oblate ourselves to God. How can you practise oblation in your life? What areas are you yet not ready to surrender to God?