Again this morning I open for reflection St. Eugene’s letter to Fr. Courtes of October 1, 1836 and find in it words that seem to speak to my earlier reflection which began with Frank Santucci’s blog.
There is a simple joy in being here this morning. It comes as no surprise to me that what Eugene has written of and for his time is not so very different from what is going on in the present.
“I don’t think it will be a pretentious affair. I won’t conceal the fact that your plan delighted me as I would be very keen for you to give some retreats of this sort yourself one day. So it’s fine that you want to find out how they are done, but I do really hope that eventually you’ll handle your material in your own way and as you know how.” (591:VIII in Oblate Writings)
I feel as though Eugene is once again speaking directly to me on this – much as he did when Jim Fiori read that first letter written to Henri Tempier – it too tumbled into my heart and has never left. So it is with these notes – for they speak to my reflections on “spirituality” of yesterday, and of some soft quiet questions to myself. Eugene is speaking to me just as do the Constitutions and Rules of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate – particularly R 37a “The charism of Saint Eugene de Mazenod is a gift of the Spirit to the Church, and it radiates throughout the world. Lay people recognize that they are called to share in the charism according to their state of life, and to live it in ways that vary according to milieu and cultures. […] In order to live more intensely the mission of evangelization according to the Oblate charism, some lay people gather in associations.”
Here I am finding once again myself, who I am, who I am called to be, finding myself sharing in the gift of Eugene’s spirit and living it with my own spirituality. Not always have I been able to define it this way. Franks’s question of “what is my basic understanding of my spirituality?” now starts to become answerable. For it is the spirit given to me by God, it is my own, but it is also enriched and given life by sharing in Eugene’s spirit and the spirit of all of the Oblates who have come since you.
I take in all that is offered, savouring it, digesting it and allowing it to feed me. Allowing this spirit, this spirituality to mix and become part of who I am. This is the learning that Eugene spoke of.