Recently in his blog Eugene de Mazenod Speaks To Us, Frank Santucci OMI shared part of a letter from St. Eugene who wrote of his admiration for Alphonsus Liguori. Further on in the blog Frank posed a few questions that I promised myself I would come back to for further reflection.
Well today is the day. Frank asked: “Who do I look to as a model and guide for my Christian life? How does that person reflect God’s compassion and love? How do I deepen my knowledge of that person’s faith and actions?” Who inspires me? When I look at them do I see God, and when I look at God do I see them? When I am with them do I feel judged and wanting or rather inspired and enlivened. Do I listen openly and allow myself to see their goodness as well as their struggle. Do I find myself inclined to want to live as they do, follow the path they are walking? Do I want to join him or her, them or do I try to do it on my own?
For me I have to say it is St. Eugene de Mazenod, founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a man whose heart was wide open… Eugene inspires me, he teaches me. It is he who invited me to look more closely at the Oblates and a very particular way of living. I get to know him in his writings and in his sons and daughters, all of those who share in his charism, his spirit. He, they, we all become gifts of God to each other, lived out in ways that are particular to our circumstances, but shared nevertheless. In Eugene and his family (and many others to a different degree) I come to know myself. Because at the very centre of it is Jesus – the one who connects and unites us – the very first and original model.