The Preface that Eugene wrote as a preamble to the Rules for the Oblates, is truly an invitation to a zealous response. In it we can feel his sense of urgency and his great zeal. To carry out his mission it would need ‘priests afire with zeal for men’s salvation, priests who would labor with all the resources at their command to convert others’. In that first group of followers and indeed for all his Oblates, Eugene was asking for the ultimate. ‘They must strive to be saints’. They must ‘walk courageously … wholly renounce themselves … striving solely for the glory of God… living in a state of habitual self-denial and seeking at all times to reach the very summit of perfection’. Eugene commented to one of his Oblates, “I have no use for smouldering wicks in this society. I want you to burn, give light, or get out “. These are indeed strong words, but also express the deep desire in the heart of Eugene de Mazenod.
1. What does it mean to you to strive to be a saint? What is an aspect of your life that can take on this focus?
2. “Walking courageously” seems to go hand in hand with sanctity – the courage to resist the world when necessary, the courage to take decisions that are painful yet right, and the courage to humble ourselves. What courageous, saintly act have you been putting off?
Fr Andrew Chen OMI
Fr Christian Fini OMI