Friday, 9 March 2012

OMI: NOTA BENE – TAKE NOTE! by Frank Santucci

Having reflected on the damage caused to the Church by bad priests, Eugene dipped his quill into the inkwell and launched into an impassioned reflection of the vocation of the Missionary. NOTA BENE, he writes: take note!

The text that follows is known to us as “The Preface” in the form in which we have received it.

Eugene aimed to counteract the ravage caused by bad priests by holding up the ideal of what the Oblate Missionary priest is

What more sublime purpose than that of their Institute!
Their founder is Jesus Christ, the very Son of God;
their first fathers are the Apostles.
They are called to be the Saviour’s co-workers, the co-redeemers of mankind

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute, §3. Nota Bene.
Missions, 78 (1951) p. 15

Here in a succinct manner is the kernel of the Missionary vocation for all who are inspired to live by Eugene’s dream.

What more sublime purpose than that of their Institute!

He restates, in different words, the three foundation pillars of our vocation that he had written in our defining Article one.

NOTA BENE – TAKE NOTE! Their founder is Jesus Christ, the very Son of God

The Congregation has its origin in the call of Jesus – he is the Founder. Each Missionary forms part of this body because of an awareness of a personal invitation from Jesus Christ.

NOTA BENE – TAKE NOTE! their first fathers are the Apostles.

We are called into community. But not just as any community, but as a community that follows the example of the apostles. More than following , it is an insertion into the Gospel community of Jesus and the apostles and first disciples. It is a continuation of that community.

NOTA BENE – TAKE NOTE! They are called to be the Savior’s co-workers, the co-redeemers of mankind

The third pillar is the mission: that of leading people to the same experience of salvation that the Missionaries were living. Thus the short definition of the Missionary is: “co-operator of the Savior” – nothing less than a co-redeemer!

NOTA BENE. What more sublime purpose than that of their Institute!

I feel quite breathless every time that I meditate on these words. If we live this reality in a convincing way, what a missionary light our vocation calls us to! If we really live these words in their fullness, what a difference we would make to the world… NOTA BENE – TAKE NOTE!

“Priest organizations around the country, both local and national, should realize that their membership has a serious image problem and undertake programs to improve it.” Andrew Greeley

NOTA BENE: A “WOW” MOMENT!

Eugene is enthralled by the wonder of our vocation. It is made in heaven and is an invitation to enter into the realm of heaven by giving us the charge of being nothing less than the co-operators of the Savior!

What more sublime purpose than that of their Institute?
Their founder is Jesus Christ, the very Son of God;
their first fathers are the Apostles.
They are called to be the Savior’s co-workers, the co-redeemers of mankind

Then, conscious of the fact that they are only 6 priests and 3 scholastic seminarians at the moment, his enthusiasm cannot be contained – they have big dreams:

and even though,
because of their present small number and
the more urgent needs of the people around them,
they have to limit the scope of their zeal,
for the time being,
to the poor of our countryside and others,
their ambition should, in its holy aspirations,
embrace the vast expanse of the whole earth

1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute, §3. Nota Bene.
Missions, 78 (1951) p. 15

Eugene’s daily encounters with the Savior in prayer, and his Bible-rooted spirituality filled him with the confidence to have big dreams: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

He was described as having a heart as big as the world, and with his conviction he could visualize the mustard seed at growth from Aix en Provence – reaching today to all the countries of the world where the members of the Mazenodian family are present..

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.     C. S. Lewis

Do not forget to visit: Eugene de Mazenod speaks to us for more and detailed articles on these.

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