GOING DEEPER … REQUIRES GREAT HONESTY & GREATER COURAGE

On February 12, 1835 St. Eugene wrote to Joseph Rossi, reproaching him for living outside the community without bothering to regularize his position.

To be frank, I was experiencing some disquietude at your continued failure to give any sign of life once you moved outside community. […] Your soul is compromised by such conduct and its state is a source of grief to me. God is not mocked. One doesn’t play with obligations such as you have contracted with impunity. What is at stake is nothing less than your salvation. […]. For this, good faith is needed on your part, and straightforwardness, in a word that you speak in good conscience and in the face of eternity; on my part you will find every condescension consistent with duty. Answer these questions before God: Can you regard your request made to Father Tempier as legitimate? When you made it, were you properly disposed as your duty required? Do you believe the permission you were given is valid, in view of what instigated it? Is your alleged motive true? […] Does the permission that you obtained dispense you from all the duties of obedience? Isn’t some norm required in relation to poverty? Isn’t some norm required with regard to the conduct that you must follow in the midst of the dangers surrounding you?.” (505:VIII in Oblate Writings)

Wow.  What to say!  I went to the Oblate Historical Dictionary to learn more about Joseph Rossi and I guess I was not exactly impressed by what I read.  I have to say that I do not understand why the man did as he did.  To be a part of community and then to trash them and play games – why didn’t he just leave?  Perhaps he came to believe he was not called to priesthood or the Oblates but lacked the courage to just leave.

The questions that St. Eugene asked Rossi to answer within himself certainly speak to me – For this, good faith is needed on your part, and straightforwardness, in a word that you speak in good conscience and in the face of eternity; on my part you will find every condescension consistent with duty. Answer these questions before God: Can you regard your request made to Father Tempier as legitimate? When you made it, were you properly disposed as your duty required? Do you believe the permission you were given is valid, in view of what instigated it? Is your alleged motive true?  The wording might change somewhat but basically if I am unhappy with one of my communities maybe I need to take a long hard and honest look at why I am there, what am I getting out of it?  Have I made excuses and stories trying to legitimize myself and or my actions?

To be able to ask myself such questions requires great honesty and even greater courage – for it comes to being between God and myself – and when that happens there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

 

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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