Eugene wrote a letter to Fr. Mille at Notre Dame to Laus on April 21, 1837 advising him that he was to accompany Bishop Bernet on his pastoral visit of the diocese of Aix.
It was the closing lines which grabbed my heart. Eugene wrote:
“Good-bye. my good son, I joyfully bless you for this task, during which you will not fail to perform all the exercises prescribed by the Rule, even his Grace the Archbishop should be aware of it.” (614:IX in Oblate Writings)
I joyfully bless you for this task. Here St. Eugene is sending Fr. Mille out to perform a very special task from the looks of it and lets Fr. Mille know that he experiences joy in blessing him. Wow!
To bless: to confer or invoke divine favor upon; ask God to look favorably on.
I wonder how many of us have ever been blessed in that way. May of us remember asking for a blessing as we recited; “bless me Father for I have sinned.” We are blessed by the pastor as we leave the Eucharistic celebration, as we are sent. We are blessed if we ask to be blessed perhaps because we are ill or about to undergo surgery. But this is quite intentional on Eugene’s part. He joyfully blesses Fr. Mille. What a blessing that must be. Perhaps this is something that we have to learn to do for each other, without special reasons for each other as we go about our daily lives – for surely they are most important, each moment of each day. I wonder what that would look like.
I joyfully bless any who might come this way during the day. I joyfully bless all those I know and love who I may or may not see this day. I most joyfully bless all those who may not have had the opportunity to experience being blessed. I joyfully bless you for your day to come – in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit I bless you.