Eugene wrote to Fr. Mille on the topic of giving missions and personal comportment when involved with that work. His words were neither harsh or to strict but rather seemed to serve as reminders of what their lives were all about.
“Do not forget that you are missionaries by profession. and consequently you have a Rule to observe during missions which is proper for that period, foreseen beforehand, already lived out, in a word, familiar to each one of you.”
Here Eugene is referring to their Rule of Life that will be with them throughout all of their lives, not something to be forgotten or set aside when they were away from their home bases. Each of us has our own small Rules of Life, unwritten within us and yet there can be times when we want to hide them away, put those Rules up on the top shelf, take a break from them. Added to that we all go through periods of wanting to do our own thing, our own way. They aren’t necessarily bad – but they are not what we have made a commitment to, a vow to. There is though always the danger of slipping further into that mold that no longer embraces our personal Rule of Life. I am reminded of a person who goes to a place away from his or her home for a holiday. While away they abandon some or many of their personal ways of propriety and fidelity to themselves and God. Eugene here is reminding them to be true to themselves, to their Rule of Life which they have taken on in becoming Oblates.
“You must be absolutely men of God, work only for God, walk unceasingly in his presence, edify from morning till night all those who deal with you or who surround you.” (602:IX in Oblate Writings)
Being reminded of who we are – men and women of God who want always to walk in the presence of God. Is this what our behaviour and way of being says to others? Is that what my actions and words say to others? I don’t need to put on a habit or special uniform. My words and actions will speak loudly of my being, of who I am. What kind of an example do I set for others? How do I carry myself? I am not doing this for myself but rather for God.
It is good to be reminded of this from time to time. Into today’s world it is all too easy to become distracted from where I really want to be.