Continuing with the notes of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s 1837 retreat as mentioned in Al Hubenig’s book “Living in the Spirit’s Fire”:

You alone can give strength to my soul only you can renew in me the sacred fire of your love, which must first embrace my heart and then, through my ministry, spread to the souls you would confide to me.  I want to be a good bishop; from the very outset of my episcopate, I want to discharge all my duties worthily.  In a word I want to work effectively for the sanctification of my flock and, by so doing, I want to sanctify myself to the high degree of perfection that the sublime and eminent dignity of my consecrated character demands. 

I find myself quite happy to be able to respond to this in my life.  For I find that I really want to be a good person.  I want to do well what I do – not so much for praise and note but simply out of love for God.  I have been given so much and this is the only way I know that I can give back.  To do well for others and perhaps they will see past me to what God has brought about.  Is this not what any and all of us are about?

To do that I must go down into the very depths of my inner self, purifying it of all imperfection, uprooting all that could be an obstacle to the working of the Holy Spirit.  Henceforth, that Divine Spirit must be the absolute Master of my soul, the sole motor of my thoughts, desires, affections and entire will.  I must be attentive to all the Spirit’s inspirations, listening to them, first of all, in the silence of prayer, then following and obeying them in my actions while carefully avoiding all that could jeopardize or weaken the influence of the Spirit’s power within me…

This sounds so daunting and holy and I am so very human.  Yet still I want to be able to respond to God and life as has Eugene.  I want to love and to be able to do that with others who are like myself so very human.  And to “be” that way I need to let go of my struggles and hurts, my doubts and some of my very human wants and allow my heart’s desire – God – to be my entire focus.  How do I do that?  How do I let go of the many things I am so adept at hanging on to?  Perhaps if I follow as much as I am able, the way suggested by Eugene.  Perhaps if I make an active commitment a couple of times a day at trying to be attentive to the Holy Spirit speaking within me.  Knowing myself as I do, it will take constant and renewed effort, but I willingly give it a try.

So far God continues to transform me for God knows before me my very deepest of desires.


About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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