“…that is why the Rule insists that the missionary especially one who has rendered the most striking services to the Church, procured the most glory for God and saved the greatest number of souls in the exercise of the holy missions, hasten joyfully into the bosom of our communities there to make himself forgetful of men and renew himself by the practice of obedience and humility and all the hidden virtues, in the spirit of his vocation and the fervour of religious perfection, without neglecting his other duties: When the missionaries are not on a mission, they will return with joy to the holy solitude of their own house, so that they may employ their time to renew the spirit of their vocation by meditation on the divine law and the study of Sacred Scripture, the fathers of the Church, dogmatic and moral theology, and the other branches of ecclesiastical science.  (from the 1831 retreat of St. Eugene de Mazenod – 163:XV in Oblate Writings)

This was intended for the men who were returning to the community house after having given a mission (which might taken 5 or 6 weeks).There is a wisdom in what Eugene writes.

The idea of being sent out, for a specific period of time and then returning to the community, coming back to, coming home to.  The image of that, of men who have given their all, with great zeal and love have given themselves and then returning to be nourished and renewed and taking their place within their family once again – open to whatever is asked of them. Returning to the community – to renew the spirit of their lives.

Eugene insisted on balance so that they would continue to grow .  A time to be replenished, renewed. Not always “on”.  Time to “be” and the doing will follow out of that.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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