October finds Eugene writing to Fr. Tempier on several topics such as Father Guibert’s visit to N.- D. du Laus, books mustn’t leave the houses, sermons of the Fathers of Laus and about the course of humanities. But it is the section about the course on humanities and what that might entail to who ever is giving the course that causes me to sit and reflect a little.
“Father Pons has to give a course on the humanities to the scholastics. Here Father Mille, who is certainly not short of work, used to give that course, and it didn’t get in the way of his giving a course of theology to the whole community. That’s how it should be everywhere. To be always ready to do with a good grace whatever may work towards the Church’s good and the Congregation’s benefit. There should be no question of asking if it’s going to be hard or put you out. You will never find it so if you form the good habit of willingly doing everything everywhere for God, seeking nothing for oneself. It seems to me that is so fundamental that it would be superfluous for me to insist on it.” (546:VIII in Oblate Writings Letter To Father Tempier, at Marseille October 4, 1835)
This hits me in a place least expected. Particularly the line “There should be no question of asking if it’s going to be hard or put you out.” Several times of late I have noticed that others do not notice the small things that need or could be done for others – simply to make things smoother. Others do not seem to notice the needs of others – usually needs – little kindnesses really – that take little or no time or thought – but they are ignored. While I on the other hand seemed cursed with noticing them right away and then I cannot – that is I am actually no longer able to ignore them and turn my back on them. So I do for others. Not a big thing but still there it is. A giving of self that is not noticed and yet one that I cannot seem to stop. Truth be told I am not sure that I want to stop for what does it hurt to think of others without measuring? Eugene’s sentence: “You will never find it so if you form the good habit of willingly doing everything everywhere for God, seeking nothing for oneself.” seems to lend truth to what I am saying.
I do not boast but sometimes find myself frustrated that others would not do for me as I do for them. It does not stop me but I do notice it. I am a little shamed that I still catch myself ‘measuring’. Oh for the day when I set aside that habit.