In August of 1834 Eugene wrote to Fathers Guiges and Dassy at Notre Dame de l’Osier, letting them know that he will be sending out another person, Fr. Vincens. It was a wonderful letter – where he was writing as would a father to his sons when they leave home and go out into the world on their own. In it he speaks of Father Dassy being able to make the superior’s task easier with certain behaviours.
“He will be his cooperator in laying the firm foundations of an institution that can prosper and bring honour to our Congregation only in so far as it is instituted on this basis. […] my dear children; in God’s name, carry out my wishes; you have the ability, you have the will; set to work. Notwithstanding our poverty, as soon as we get more priests. I will send you another one.” (August 18, 1834 – 484: VIII in Oblate Writings)
It is the use of the word “co-operator” that grabbed my attention – I have never thought of it used in this way before. Co-worker not just of Jesus, or our superiors but of each other. Along-side Jesus on the Cross is to be alongside of each other on the cross. This carries me to a new place. It enlivens and gives flesh to the “Body of Christ”, to the divine in each of us. Our connectedness. How then could I ever hate my brothers or sisters? How then could I ever not love and serve my brothers and sisters?
I have been for the past week a part of our OMI Lacombe’s provincial convocation – helping where I could. Here I have been with in a small way as a co-operator to those who are attending, to those who have organized and worked so hard to plan and make this a reality. To be a part of it has been a gift. To look at it all as being co-operators with each other – a new way of recognizing, loving, serving. My heart sings and takes flight in pure joy and gratitude.
Here with this family I find my purpose and way of being. One of the greatest gifts I have received has be Eugene’s invitation to walk with him, with the Oblates. I have found my home here. In being a co-operator with all I become a co-operator with the One.