January 17, 1835 saw Eugene writing a third letter – this one to Father Vincens concerning some of the miracles being worked on the Missions and with advice on hearing confessions.

My dear Father Vincens, the Lord be praised for what he has accomplished by means of your ministry and dear Father Dassy’s. Good master as he is, he wanted to give you some encouragement and he let his blessings accompany your words. Like us I’m sure you give all the credit for our work’s success to his grace and his grace alone. That’s what gets through to the heart while our words merely enter the ear… […]At the voice of the missionary miracles abound and he is so struck by the wonder of so many conversions that the poor instrument of these marvels is the first to be confounded, and while praising God and rejoicing he humbles himself in his littleness and nothingness.

This seems to be the truth of preaching, sharing the Word of God and the personal experiences that brings about in our lives.  Not that I have wrought any miracles that I am aware of, and am most unlikely to be chosen for such – still after sharing the miracles of God in my life and seeing how just these touch some people I seem always to go back to remind myself how small and little I am while rejoicing in God and giving thanks for that.

You tell yourself: I will absolve this man unless he does not amend his life at all. When he comes back again, although you don’t recognize him, if he has amended his life you give him absolution on the strength of the first judgment you made at the time he confessed. As to the problem you have over not being able to arouse contrition sufficiently in each penitent, this preoccupation would vanish if you made use of our invaluable service for the act of contrition […] But don’t worry. God in his goodness will make up for what is lacking.” (503:VIII in Oblate Writings)

Such great tenderness and love Eugene offers as he points out to Fr. Vincens the good he has done and how he can do better. And as far as confessions go he takes all the sting out of his advice when he finishes with:  “But don’t worry. God in his goodness will make up for what is lacking.” To be reminded that God is the only one in charge and that God makes use of everything – even my mistakes; that God in His infinite goodness will make up for whatever is lacking in me that is true solace and consolation.  It is an invitation move even more closely to an everlasting embrace.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
This entry was posted in St. Eugene de Mazenod and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s