St Eugene: pilgrim of hope at the service of the most abandoned
(Eugene’s fourth “road sign” for the pilgrim)
Here we have the vocation of everyone connected with the charism and spirituality of Saint Eugene: to be pilgrims of hope to those who are the most abandoned.
Will we ever have an adequate understanding of this sublime vocation! For that one would have to understand the excellence of our Institute’s end, beyond argument the most perfect one could propose to oneself in this world, since the end of our Institute is the exact same end that the Son of God had in mind when he came down on earth…
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” [Luke 19: 10], he was sent especially to evangelize the poor: “He has sent me to evangelize the poor” [Luke 4:18].
And we have been founded precisely to work for the conversion of souls, and especially to evangelize the poor
Eugene de Mazenod’s retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163
Writing to the Missionaries. leaving France to minister to indigenous peoples in 1855, Eugene leaves no doubt as to who the poor are:
You are leaving to conquer souls, and certainly we can say those of the most abandoned souls, for can there be any more abandoned ones than those of the poor indigenous people whom God, by an extraordinary privilege, has called us to evangelize?
… when, faithful to your vocation, you become the instruments of his mercies over these poor unbelievers whom you snatch from the devil who had made them his prey, and you thus extend the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.
Letter to the Missionaries at Rivière Rouge, 28 June 1855, EO II n 211
THE WORD OF GOD
Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ (Luke 4:17-19)
Later to prove to John the Baptist that he was the Messiah, Jesus said:
“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” (Matthew 11:4-5).
God our Father,
by the grace of the Holy Spirit,
you called St. Eugene de Mazenod
to gather a missionary family
to announce the Gospel
especially among the poor and most abandoned.
May we ourselves respond to the God of love who saves us,
and calls us to be pilgrims who witness to those who are the most abandoned in our society today.
Convinced of God’s love for us, may we receive through the intercession of Saint Eugene
the particular graces we ask for as pilgrims of hope.