The Superior General, in his January 25 homily, focused on the theme of “Conversion,” drawing inspiration from the transformative experiences of St. Paul and St. Eugene De Mazenod.
The homily delivered by the Superior General on January 25, 2024, at the General House in Rome, delved into the profound connection between the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul and the Oblate Community 208 years ago in Aix-en-Provence. Fr. Chicho’s reflections centered on the theme of “Conversion,” drawing inspiration from the transformative experiences of St. Paul and St. Eugene De Mazenod.
Living a Christ-Centered Life
Highlighting St. Paul’s and St. Eugene’s transformation upon encountering Jesus, the Superior General underlined their shift from ideological perspectives to making Christ the focal point of their lives. Fr. Chicho challenged the congregation to introspect: Does Christ genuinely permeate our thoughts, emotions, actions, and religious practices? Are we allowing Christ to shape our lives in every aspect? To be like Paul and the Founder means aspiring to be another Christ on earth, comprehending Him, mirroring Him, and allowing His influence to flourish within us.
Service to the Poor
Fr. Chicho stressed that an authentic encounter with Christ prompts personal conversion and imparts a mission to individuals, exemplified by St. Paul and St. Eugene. The Superior General challenged the congregation to evaluate whether the genuine needs of salvation and liberation for the poor influence our plans. He affirmed, “Our mission is to be continually on the move, seeking out the most abandoned, exploring every avenue to proclaim the Gospel to the most abandoned.” The call is to be attentive to the cries of the poor, the Church, and even our Mother Earth. Are we, as missionaries, truly placing the needs of the poor at the center of our mission?
Charity, Charity, Charity
Emphasizing the profound impact of St. Paul and St. Eugene in shaping communities rooted in missionary communion and Gospel values, the Superior General urged each community to strive to reflect the Trinity. Reflecting on the origins of the Aix community, Fr. Chicho marveled at their resilient journey, emerging from humble beginnings and thriving through reciprocal love. St. Eugene’s enduring testament of charity, zeal, and missionary communion became the congregation’s foundation. “Charity is the expression of this missionary communion.” Fr. Chicho reiterated St. Eugene’s testament, challenging each individual to contribute to the joy and fulfillment of their fellow community members.
In summary, the Superior General advocates for a communal approach to confronting the challenges of the contemporary era. Fr. Chicho extends a sincere invitation to the congregation and the entire Charismatic community, encouraging them to allow the Spirit of Jesus to illuminate their paths. He invites and challenges all to assess whether they are genuinely Christ-centered, dedicated to serving the poor, and community-oriented.
May Mary Immaculate, St. Eugene, and our Blessed Oblates intercede for us, guiding us to be pilgrims of hope in communion. Amen.