Compelled by God’s Love
“God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us …made us alive together with Christ.” Ephesians 2:4
As a young man, having returned home from exile, Eugene de Mazenod was confused about his future and feeling somewhat without direction. One Good Friday Eugene had a life changing experience of God’s rich, merciful love during the veneration of the cross. That experience, which could easily be summed up by Paul’s words in the Letter to the Ephesians quoted above, was a turning point in his life and formed and shaped his thinking, teaching and actions for the rest of his life.
Having experienced God’s immeasurable love, Eugene gave himself totally to a life of discipleship, no longer concerned with restoring the family fortune or making an advantageous marriage. His response to being loved led him to the priesthood and then to founding the Oblates of Mary Immaculate; his desire and passion was to share that same love with those who experienced it the least in his day. He felt called to “proclaim Good News to the poor”, and he strove to fulfill that call every day of his life. That same gift of the Holy Spirit, the charism of St. Eugene de Mazenod, is still present in the church today in the lives and witness of Oblates and Associates and other members of the Mazenodian family.
The Word of God for this Fourth Sunday of Lent invites and challenges us to reflect on our own experiences of God’s love for us. Each of us will have our own unique experiences but we are reminded that God’s love is poured out on all people. As we experience this gift of love, we are invited to respond. Our natural inclination upon receiving a gift is to respond by giving a gift in return, in gratitude for what we have received. The question for each of us is “Where is God’s love calling me, what am I being invited to give in return?” Our first call or vocation is to discipleship, and within that we are also called to respond in unique ways. To what are you being called today?
By Richard Beaudette, OMI
Vocation Team – East