“… There is no need for me to tell you that all these good brothers are asking for your prayers and those of our Fathers. [Casimir] Aubert in particular has been really insistent lest I forget his commission; he is on retreat, I could not refuse to let him have a fortnight off to prepare himself for the priestly ordination that his unblemished life has already made him so worthy of. What an outstanding fellow he is! Intelligence, character, virtue, heart: he has them all to perfection. You can congratulate yourself on winning such a prize and the family will be eternally grateful.” ” (March 25, 1833 letter to Father Guibert, at N.-D. du Laus – 444:VIII in Oblate Writings
Having never heard of Fr. Casimir Aubert, OMI but it noting in the footnotes that he was the first Oblate to be ordained by Eugene de Mazenod, I took the extra time to look him up in the Oblate Historical Dictionary.
This seemed to be a ‘business-as-usual’ letter yet it seemed also to be filled with a grace that I was unable to pin down and name. It was something special to read that he was the first to be ordained by Eugene and to learn that he was close to Eugene throughout their lives and died a year before Eugene. A few years ago while visiting Vancouver I picked up a coffee-table book which was the history of the Archdiocese of Vancouver and read the names of the very first priests and bishops there – all of them ordained by Eugene de Mazenod. At was a discovery of delight for I was connecting with and learning more about Eugene and the Oblates. I am so grateful for the many and varied opportunities that God has given me to get to know Eugene and his Oblates on a deeper level.
This place where I am at in this moment in time is an unexpected gift and grace – here I am in a place of receiving much from God – my heart is being molded and reshaped. And it is nice to find the good in myself and not try to push it away as if it does not exist. I am not perfect – but I am good. I love God with all that I am and then some – but know that God is not yet finished with me – there will be always and forever room for more and my heart will continue to widen and expand.
This is where I have come to in my reflections with Eugene, and I am filled with gratitude.