On April 11, 1837 Eugene wrote to To Mr. Persil, keeper of the Seals, in Paris expressing his gratitude regarding his upcoming appointment to the See of Marseilles (Eugene will become the Bishop of Marseilles).  He writes that he accepts out of obedience to his uncle how he trusts that God will give him the graces needed for the job.

“I am in receipt of the letter Your Excellency has done me the honour of writing while forwarding through the good offices of my uncle the royal ordinance that summons me to the See of Marseilles. I thank you for the gracious words you are so kind as to add to the favour the King has deigned to do me, but may I speak frankly? I was on the point of losing courage when I saw at close quarters the burden that was going to be imposed upon me. It required the full force of my uncle’s will, no less, which I looked upon as the expression of that of God to bring me to the decision of accepting so heavy an assignment. […] today the whole responsibility both before God and man being about to weigh solely on me, I am like one stunned. Even so, I place all my trust in the Lord and hope that helped by his all-powerful grace and the commitment of my will… (181:XV in Oblate Writings)

 It is no longer the kings who would appoint Bishops but rather the Church herself, but two hundred years ago in Eugene’s time, in France, it was the king.

I look at some of the Bishops who were/are Oblates and I have to say that somehow they have managed to do both – being Oblate and serving as bishops – beginning with St. Eugene.  To me this is something very great, no easy task for sure for they are tasked with a little more, to ‘be’ a little more, to give a little more – they must then give their all to God, to the Church in a very specific way, to their congregation, to the poor.  To the whole world.

Not an easy road to walk for sure as their “yeses” grow incredibly.  But there will be available to them many special graces to help them to walk on such a widening road.  In a deliberate and special way their families, their communities will grow in a very specific and special ways.  Like Eugene they will have to have placed all their trust in God…

This is the crossing of new borders that they have spoken about.  Looking at my own life I am still in the midst of learning and taking in what it means to be a member of my parish, my Oblate community, and further.  It doesn’t look the same as Eugene’s but I remember during one of my early Oblate Retreats asking for prayers because I needed to reconcile my Church and parish family with my Oblate family – bringing them together in to one.  I look at the graces that God has lavished upon me so that could happen.  I am blessed beyond all dreams.  It is funny, but when I think of all the dreams I had – they did not include this life and yet this far surpasses any dream that I might have been able to conjure up.


About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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