Reflection from Pentecost Sunday, May 24 2015
On July 16 1835, Eugene wrote to Bishop Bishop [Charles de Forbin-Janson], Bishop of Nancy and Toul, in Paris. He writes about the ongoing injustice to Bishop de Forbin-Janson and himself on the part of the government of France.
“It takes, my dearest Lord, an unusual turn of events to get two old friends, each with an implicit trust in their mutually-shared feelings of friendship, to write to one another. One would say that there is a whole sea to swallow before breaking once in a while a silence obstinately maintained on both sides. […]Anybody else would come to the conclusion, would he not, that he has been mistaken these past thirty years to think of you as a friend. But I am really yours and nothing that concerns you will ever find me indifferent.” (178:XV in Oblate Writings)
Today is the Feast of Pentecost – the coming of the Holy Spirit. The letting go of the old and receiving of the new Spirit. The same Holy Spirit that both Eugene de Mazenod and I have a such deep and living faith in – it is a part of us – the very core of our beings.
I find myself saddened and heartened at the same time. For here Eugene speaks quite honestly about himself and Bishop Forbin-Jansen’s imperfect but enduring friendship. He is not accusing but rather only stating how it is. But it is the last line: “But I am really yours and nothing that concerns you will ever find me indifferent” which speaks so very strongly to me of enduring and great love and friendship. It is both true and faithful even though it is not nourished in any way other than the Holy Spirit.
I recognize this I my own relationship with a person I will call a deeply loved friend who I cannot fault for any weakness for my own are so similar. I find a similarity also to Eugene de Mazenod, a sharing of commonalities even though we are separated by 150 years and a continent. How can this be? I know only that it is.
I am struck again by how deeply and widely Eugene loved. I can only pray that I remain as true as did he. Today is Pentecost Sunday and perhaps my restlessness during the night was a letting go so that I too could receive a new spirit from God. So even though it is with a new spirit and as Eugene found it so, the cross continues to beckon. And in truth I am grateful that it is so.
St. Eugene pray for me.