“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’” (Mark 1:3)
Trailblazers are known as the people who make a new track through a wild country. This task requires lots of practical skills, but also lots of courage and determination. They step out of their comfort zone and into the unknown in order to prepare the way. In a more figurative understanding, they embrace something new to show that it is also possible for other people.
On the day of Saint Eugene’s canonization, December 3, 1995 – 25 years ago – Pope John Paul II said in his homily, “Eugene de Mazenod, whom the Church today proclaims a saint, was a man of Advent, a man of the Coming. He not only looked forward to that Coming, but, as a Bishop and the founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, he dedicated his whole life to preparing for it. His waiting reached the intensity of heroism, that is, it was marked by a heroic degree of faith, hope and apostolic charity. Eugene de Mazenod was one of those apostles who prepared the modern age, our age.”
St. Eugene de Mazenod was a real trailblazer of faith who always explored the path, not out of curiosity, but rather in the sense of “preparing the way” for the One to come. Throughout his life he wholeheartedly dove into the discernment process and this helped him to discover the will of God and act upon it. It was a constant way of embracing God’s mission in his life, beginning with priestly vocation, then founding a religious congregation, and finally extending the mission to the foreign lands, constantly “preparing the way of the Lord”. He would have assessed the situation with objectivity, prayed about it and consulted his spiritual director. He put into practice his final decision with zeal and conviction. It was this way of life that led him to sainthood. He was a trailblazer not a disoriented follower.
In every way of life, whether we are single, married or religious, we are called to “prepare the way of the Lord”. Our discernment of God’s will in our life is an expression of faith as we embrace the way with trust. It takes courage to step out of our comfort zone and away from the securities of life. It takes a “trailblazer” to walk the path of the Lord, not our own.
By Jarek Pachocki, OMI