ST EUGENE: PILGRIM OF HOPE SERVING THE CHURCH
(Eugene’s second “road sign” for the pilgrim)
It was Eugene’s love for the Church that led him to dedicate his life to her, the Body of Christ, as a priest:
So do not grudge, dear mother, do not grudge this poor Church, so terribly abandoned, scorned, trampled underfoot but which even so was the one who gave birth to us all in J.C., the homage that two or three individuals out of the whole of France (a small number I count myself happy to be one of) wish to pay her of their liberty and life.
And what reason could you possibly have for wanting me to delay any longer from committing myself, and devoting to the Spouse of J.C., which this divine Master formed by the shedding of all his blood, every moment of a life I received only to use for God’s greater glory.
Eugene’s letter to his mother, 11 October 1809, EO XIV n. 61
Love for the Church was the constant beacon that led him to gather a missionary family:
Our Lord Jesus Christ has left to us the task of continuing the great work of the redemption of mankind…
This spirit of being wholly devoted to the glory of God, the service of the Church and the salvation of souls, is the spirit that is proper to our Congregation, a small one, to be sure, but which will always be powerful as long as she is holy.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 August 1817, EO VI n 21
A year before his death, Eugene the pilgrim continued to express his faithfulness to these important signposts:
How is it possible to separate our love for Jesus Christ from that we owe to the Church? These two kinds of love merge into one: to love the Church is to love Jesus Christ and vice versa.
We love Jesus Christ in his Church because she is his immaculate spouse who came out of his opened side on the cross…
Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Marseille, 1860
THE WORD OF GOD
… even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5, 25-27
God our Father,
by the grace of the Holy Spirit,
you gave St. Eugene de Mazenod
an unconditional love for the Church.
May we ourselves be inflamed with his love for the Church, the Body of Christ
and receive through his intercession
the particular graces we ask for as pilgrims of hope.
by Fr. by Frank Santucci, OMI