Eugene’s letter of November 29 in 1831 to Fr. Courtès, speaks of thoughts of America because in Aix Fr. Courtes gives retreats to clergy and seminarians (not necessarily Oblate) about the possibility of going to North America as missionaries.
“I would ask you if anyone is turning his eyes in the direction of America. I don’t mean amongst our own men, there are already too many with that idea, but in the diocese …” (Letter from St. Eugene de Mazenod to Father Courtès at Aix – 409:VIII in Oblate Writings)
As I read this I idly wonder if there is a special gene that is given to missionaries, particularly those who would go to foreign lands or into areas of pain and suffering right here at home. A silly question but I follow it a little further and think that perhaps God implants a special little gift in the hearts, a desire to go and share the Good News in the furthest corners where the Church structures still do not touch those in need. The Holy Spirit alive and well!
I think of my own desire and drive to meet and be with, to invite others to join and walk with our Oblate Associates, here, across the country, around the world. This gift has most surely come from God. And I ask myself “so God chooses us?” Of course. Did not God say to me “I love you, I have chosen you.”
I think of the readings from last weekend; “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.” Connecting the dots from 2000 years ago to 200 years ago and today, to this place and time. This is what happens when we pause and go deeper.