I continue with the letter that Eugene wrote to Fr. Tempier on August 16, 1835 about a young man, Jean Joseph-Marie Lagier who was in formation to become an Oblate.
“Speaking of Father Lagier, I can tell you that I have never seen anyone prepare himself for a holy event of oblation as he did. And in consequence what fruits won’t he derive from it? Father Lagier can’t contain himself for jubilation. He told us, he who has always been so fervent both at the seminary and in the parish, that he has never known such peace and happiness, that he was overflowing with gladness and along with these outpourings from his noble soul he brings a firm resolution to do all for the glory of God, the service of the Church and of the Society, in whatever work obedience assigns him. He is on fire to work for the salvation of souls, but he waits without anxiety for his superiors to choose the ministry in which they wish to employ him. To sum it all up in a few words, a more perfect subject couldn’t be found.” (533:VIII in Oblate Writings Letter To Father Tempier, at Marseilles)
The image here is of a man on fire to work for the glory of God but who waits for a ministry to be chosen for him – the both/and. I can’t help but think how attractive that must have looked in his time for even now the invitation to be around such a person is incredible. His oblation – his giving of himself in what I want to call perfect obedience. Never to reach the big headlines in the news but what he gave in helping to form others was everything. “Let me be little, let me be ordinary, let me be hidden, let me be a lamp to my neighbour’s feet.” that is my prayer but I wonder if it was also the prayer of Fr. Lagier.
I had not expected to come here and find myself, and so this is a surprise, a small lovely gift which I hold close for some reason. I have to say that in giving me the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, God has given me a gift of such immense proportions – one that is endlessly life giving. It, you, they help to fill the holes in my heart which were dug when I was but a baby and which it seemed I would never have filled. My heart shouts with joy and my being is overtaken with gratitude. Such is the joy of living in God.