One of the first things I noticed as I began to get to know Oblates is the love they have for one another, and there is a very real willingness for the majority of them to serve one another no matter if it’s in a small way or a big way. There is a willingness to look out for the other no matter their role within the community. Humbling and beautiful to witness, inspiring as to be a way of living. And there is no counting of steps, no measuring, simply each of them taking the extra steps that another might not see.
“Wherefore, the missionaries will take pleasure in occupying the last place. Without ostentation they will vie for it and will gladly and humbly do the most unpretentious work in the house.” (from the 1831 retreat of St. Eugene de Mazenod – 163:XV in Oblate Writings)
I keep looking at the phrase ‘without ostentation’ – without putting on a show of it, without drama or any signs that say notice me, no sack cloth and ashes, no long faces or heavy sighs. Simply going about serving our brothers and sisters in whatever needs to be done so that their day runs smoothly. Being of service to those who serve.
“The missionaries will consider it an honor to discharge the humblest duties in the house…” (from the 1831 retreat of St. Eugene de Mazenod – 163:XV in Oblate Writings)
I think back to a few weekends ago, when before Mass one of the ladies, broom in hand went through the church to sweep up any leaves that might have fallen from the Christmas plants. Not her job for sure as she then prepared for choir practice. When I mentioned how good it was of her to help in this way, she had a beautiful smile that laughed as she said – “Eleanor – it’s ‘our’ church and so we are only doing what needs to be done to prepare it for others.”
It all about the spirit in which we live.
Lord make me little, make me ordinary, make me a lamp to my neighbours feet.