It is with a little sadness that I find myself coming to the end of Eugene’s 1831 Retreat Notes, for they have been without a doubt a great treasure and grace for me. In coming to know St. Eugene a little better I discover and come to recognize some of my own depths. Indeed I feel as if I am being steeped in his spirit, his charism and how wondrous is that?
“Living like this one is sure of pleasing God and then there is no obstacle to one approaching the Saviour, uniting oneself with him by the Sacrament of his love in the daily offering of the holy Sacrifice. This is what the Rule desires for all the priests of the Institute.” (from the 1831 retreat of St. Eugene de Mazenod – 163:XV in Oblate Writings)
Although Eugene is speaking most certainly to his priests I do not feel excluded. After all I share here with other Oblate Associates and any others that would come and sit in this place – but I am not excluding any. Eugene was a man of his times and so spoke to those times. And I have found that although he speaks to his Oblates they can apply to and help me – such as taking part in the Eucharist on a daily basis if I so desire.
Here I have even found the beginning of an answers and ways of dealing with some of what is happening within our Church on questions of inclusion and grace. I have changed and grown greatly over the years – it has taken a lifetime and I am not yet done because there is still so much to let go of. I think that my Church is no different, nor are the ones who would try to lead it any different. On our own or as a community, we let go of what we can as we can, then we change and grow. Not a fast process for me personally as I keep finding more layers so why would I expect others, groups of others to become ‘perfect’ and in agreement in the blink of an eye? Not an excuse for things not changing fast enough, just perhaps a deeper understanding.
These are some of the graces I receive – like by-products of going deeper each day into that which is most important to me. I find myself becoming steeped in the spirit of this dear saint and friend.