Reflection 1: Our Vocation
“They Will Constantly Renew Themselves In The Spirit Of Their Vocation” (St Eugene de Mazenod, Preface)
This is the theme of the forthcoming April 2020 Convocation. It is an invitation to renewal for everyone connected with St Eugene de Mazenod: Missionary Oblates, Honorary Oblates, Associates, Affiliates, Employees, Mission Supporters, Partners, and Youth – in other words, every member of the Mazenodian Family. each according to their state of life and involvement. Each month some texts will be made available for your personal or group reflection and prayer. Several texts are offered in the hope that you will find some beneficial to use.
Click on the image below to see the short video by Fr. Frank Santucci, OMI
This month we focus on vocation: how each of us perceives the vocation connected with living our baptismal call to be light in the world. You are invited to reflect on your vocation as a baptized person, as a follower of Jesus, and as a follower of Jesus through the spirituality of St Eugene de Mazenod. Choose some of the texts below to help you in your prayerful reflection.
I Reflect On My Baptismal Calling
We recall how at our baptism the sign of the cross was traced on our foreheads with these words:
“The Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our Savior by the sign of the cross.”
The ceremony ended with the lighting of the baptismal candle:
“this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly.”
The way in which we fulfil that command is what we refer to as our “vocation.”
I Reflect On My Call To Christian Discipleship
“Come follow me…” (Matthew 4:19)
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 14 -15)
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
I Reflect On St. Eugene’s Understanding Of Discipleship
“What did Our Lord Jesus Christ do? He chose a certain number of apostles and disciples whom He formed in piety and filled with His spirit; and after having trained them in his school and the practice of all virtues, He sent them forth to conquer the world which they soon brought under the rule of his holy laws.” (St Eugene 1818)
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. (St Eugene 1818)
Then Eugene invited others to join him in his Oblate discipleship:
“My dear friend, read this letter at the foot of your crucifix with the desire to listen only to God regarding what the good of his glory and the salvation of souls demand from you… allow yourself to be fully penetrated by the situation of the people who live in the countryside… ask your heart what it would like to do to remedy these disasters and then reply to my letter.”
(St Eugene to Henri Tempier 1815)
My Invitation To Renew My Discipleship As A Member Of The Mazenodian Family
“The call of Jesus Christ, heard within the Church through people’s need for salvation, draws us together as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Christ thus invites us to follow him and to share in his mission through word and work…
We come together in apostolic communities of priests and Brothers, united to God by the vows of religion.
Cooperating with the Saviour and imitating his example, we commit ourselves principally to evangelizing the poor.” CC&RR, Constitution 1
“The charism of Saint Eugene de Mazenod is a gift of the Spirit to the Church, and it radiates throughout the world. Lay people recognize that they are called to share in the charism according to their state of life, and to live it in ways that vary according to milieu and cultures. They share in the charism in a spirit of communion and reciprocity amongst themselves and with the Oblates.” CC&RR, Rule 37a
When Pope Francis convoked the Year for Consecrated Life in 2014 he wrote these words which can be applied to the vocation of each member of our Mazenodian family and to our convocation:
In this letter, I wish to speak not only to consecrated persons, but also to the laity, who share with them the same ideals, spirit and mission. Indeed, around each religious family… there is a larger family, a “charismatic family”, which includes … especially lay faithful who feel called, precisely as lay persons, to share in the same charismatic reality.
I urge you, as laity, to live this Year for Consecrated Life as a grace which can make you more aware of the gift you yourselves have received. Celebrate it with your entire “family”, so that you can grow and respond together to the promptings of the Spirit in society today.
For Personal And/Or Group Reflection
The preceding reflections are aimed to help us focus on listening to the movement of the Spirit within us. The Lord calls each of us, though unworthy, to share in His mission. Broken and wounded in many ways, we are invited to constantly turn to Him for our personal and communal renewal. We will gather, or be represented, at the convocation as members of the Mazenodian Family living out our vocations in various ways as vowed religious and laity.
In following Christ our Savior, we have had some good moments as well as challenging ones in our vocation journeys. The invitation before us is to take a moment to think about how we are living out our calling in today’s world and reflect on the ways in which Jesus Christ can renew us. The questions below are suggested as helps in our reflection moments, as individuals or in groups.
1/ Which of these texts struck you? Why?
2/ Do you have any experiences or stories that help you to understand your vocation to follow Jesus Christ?
3/ How can you constantly renew yourself in the spirit of your vocation this month?
Never a pause, O Christ, in your persistent questioning: “Who do you say that I am?”
You are the one who loves me into endless life.
You open up the way of risk.
You go ahead of me along the way of holiness, where happy are they who die of love, where the utmost response is martyrdom.
Day by day you transfigure the “No” in me into “Yes”. You ask me, not for a few scraps, but for the whole of my existence(…)
So why have I wavered for so long, asking for time to deal with my own affairs? Once I had set my hand to the plow, why did I look back? Without realizing it, I was making myself unfit to follow you.
Yet, though I had never seen you, I loved you.
You kept on saying: live the little bit of the Gospel you have grasped. Proclaim my life. Light fire on the earth … You, follow me…
Until one day I understood: you were asking me to commit myself to the point of no return.
Brother Roger of Taizé
(copyright © Ateliers et Presses de Taizé, 71250 Taizé, France)
Mary Immaculate, who received Christ in order to bring him into the world, pray for us
Saint Eugene de Mazenod, co-operator of the Savior and founder of our missionary family, pray for us.