In May 1835 Eugene wrote to Fr. Guigues saying how busy he was and the decisions he as Superior General had to make for the still rather small congregation which was being called in so many directions to do so many things.
“My dear Father Guigues, […] Every superior rightly speaks up for his house, but you mustn’t lose sight of wider needs and of the family as a whole for which I am obliged to provide. […] I left nothing to be desired, but when the time came to carry out the plan, six thousand Italians, who have no one to turn to for their salvation but Father Albini, let out a distress call, and I found that my conscience wouldn’t let me deprive them of this real man of God who conducts a continuing mission amongst this folk, with wonderful results..” (514:VIII in Oblate Writings)
What incredibly hard decisions Eugene had to make, and I am reminded of our Provincial Core team for OMI Lacombe Canada as they discussed, discerned, prayed and questioned who would go where in what had to be best for the Mission but also for everyone involved – the Oblates themselves and those they would be ministering to. Their decisions in the end would not necessarily please everyone and yet – they listened to the Spirit speaking within themselves and among each other. A huge responsibility that they struggled and lived with. I am grateful – because it affected other members of our community and in some ways their joys and their sorrows are shared with each of us.
To be in a place where discernment and decisions need to be made seems to me to be very much a part of loving service to our brothers and sisters. God has planted within each of us a particular charism that must be discerned and then honoured and lived out. Hopefully it is not just stubbornness that leads us. Rather it be perseverance as we walk the path that God has set us on, so we might stand tall in the dignity of our beliefs and our love, for God and for all of our brothers and sisters.
God will always continue to lead me where He would have me be but it is up to me to follow Him. This is the Feast Day of St. Eugene de Mazenod, the anniversary of his death in 1861. A Happy Feast Day to all.