Anniversary of Congregation First Oblation: Baptized and Sent

Baptized

Our baptism commits us to be messengers of the Gospel. Our mission as disciples of Christ begins from the moment of our baptism, regardless of the age at which we received it. We are called to live and build up this mission in all the situations of our existence.

“Baptism is, in a certain sense, the Christian’s identity card, his birth certificate, and the certificate of his birth into the Church.” said Pope Francis in his audience of November 13, 2013.

The Founder gave a special importance to the date of his baptism: “... What is infinitely more precious for him is the anniversary of his baptism which took place on August 2, 1782.” (See Diary of the Youth Congregation, July 31, 1814, OW XVI)

And me: Do I remember the anniversary of my baptism?

In his pastoral ministry, Saint Eugene regularly introduces the renewal of baptismal vows: when adopting the regulations of the Association of Young Christians of Aix in 1813 or at the Marignane mission in 1816 (Cf. Oblate Writings Volume 16).

In preparing this document, I was struck by the hymn used in the first missions by our Founder: “When the holy water of baptism flowed on your nascent foreheads, and a God, goodness itself, adopted you as children, you were still silent. Others promised for you; today, confess  the faith which a Christian takes pride in....” This hymn tells us that it is above all God who acts, and it reminds us of our responsibility in accompanying people, especially young people. This accompaniment is an ecclesial responsibility. Moreover,  Pope Francis reminds us in his Apostolic Exhortation Christus vivit:  “The community has an important role in the accompaniment of young people; it should feel collectively responsible for accepting, motivating, encouraging and challenging them.” (CV No. 243) We could read the pastoral letter on the Church written by our Founder in 1860: “The Church, gives birth in the Lord when through baptism it confers on them the grace of Jesus Christ, which makes them other Jesus Christ and consequently children of God....” (Cf. Pastoral Letter of 1860).

In the Acts of the Apostles, the nascent Church is represented as a community of disciples whose mission is to proclaim salvation and to be witnesses of the Risen One.  As a liturgical initiative at the beginning of October or in preparation  for November 1st, we propose that you renew the Christic dimension  of our baptism. (See Appendix - celebration of the renewal of baptismal vows).

 

Our Mission

By our baptism, we are sent on mission. We must be “a living memorial of Jesus’ way of living and acting as the Incarnate Word in relation  to the Father and in relation to the brethren.” Vita Consecrata No. 22.  And through our religious life in community, we have a concrete experience of being disciple: “I give you a new commandment: love one  another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.  This is how all will know that you are my disciples: if you have love  for one another.” (Jn 13:34-35). Jesus entrusts us with a mission: “to  love one another, ” within the ecclesial community, while having an  openness to others.  Our mission is not defined by what we do, but by our shared life with  the most abandoned. I give myself and the whole community takes  responsibility for the mission that the Church has entrusted to it.

Thus, our first mission is to live the gift of the fraternity we have received from the Lord, to build up this fraternity within and outside  the community.  Vita Consecrata No. 72 even says: “Indeed, more than in external  works, the mission consists in making Christ present to the world  through personal witness. This is the challenge, this is the primary  task of the consecrated life! Consecrated persons are “in mission” by  virtue of their very consecration, to which they bear witness in accordance with the ideal of their Institute.”

Paul VI in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi says: “Evangelizing is in fact the joy and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize....” (EN 14)  Thus, all the baptized, by the fact of their common priesthood, are  charged with spreading the message of the Gospel: the love of God  offered to all people without distinction of color, social status or even  morality. Definitely, the perfect missionary-disciple probably does  not exist any more than does the saint who has no weakness. We could  even say: because we are imperfect, we need the prayer and help of  other believers to be a credible witness to the Gospel.  There are a diversity of vocations and therefore of ministries, which  we have just mentioned, without forgetting our Constitution 7: “Oblates, priests and Brothers, have complementary responsibilities in  evangelizing.”

Let us together reread the Pope’s message to the 2016 Chapter: “Today, every land is “mission territory”, every human dimension is mission territory, awaiting the proclamation of the Gospel.” Through this  message and the excerpt from our Founder’s letter to Father Ricard,  December 6, 1851 we could take the time to participate in the PMS  campaign “#MyMission is... and yours?: “Foreign missions compared to our missions in Europe have a special character of a higher  order because this is the true apostolate of announcing the Good News to nations which have not yet been called to the knowledge of the true God and his son Jesus Christ.... This is the mission of the  Apostles: “Euntes, docete omnes gentes! This teaching of the truth  must penetrate to the most backward nations so that they can be regenerated in the waters of baptism.” (Cf. OW II, No. 157)

 

Our Oblation

The Founder in his letter to the Congregation on March 25, 1826, wrote: .... Now, my Reverend Fathers and Brothers [...] you have been chosen, by a special grace [...], to rekindle the flame of piety of the first disciples of the faith, to reproduce in your life the illustrious examples of so many Religious who, by the careful exercise of these same virtues that you practice, have reached the summit of holiness  [...] They (the Rules) have been judged by the Supreme Pontiff as very apt to bring souls to perfection....”

We experience our oblation in community, with others. “We are a living cell in the Church in which we strive together to bring the grace  of our Baptism to its fullness.” (Constitution 12). It is through my community that I seek the perfection of love. Our Founder and Father  Tempier showed us the way when, on Holy Thursday 1816, they  promised each other mutual obedience. It was to support and help  each other in their journey in Christ.  Our oblation takes the form, according to the tradition of the Church,  of religious vows. But our religious consecration precedes our vows,  it encompasses them and surpasses them existentially. The Apostolic  Exhortation Vita Consecrata reminds us that “a particular duty of the  consecrated life is to remind the baptized of the fundamental values  of the Gospel.” So, our life must reflect “the sacramental consecration  which is brought about by God’s power in Baptism, Confirmation or  Holy Orders.” (VC 33).  We must live our oblation, and we live it every day of our lives, in  very different circumstances (that means, to renew it); we make it to  God through the evangelical counsels that highlight our desire to configure our whole existence to Christ by the three essential dimensions:  chastity, poverty and obedience.

Let us take advantage of this extraordinary Month of the Mission to  rediscover the roots of our religious consecration in baptism.  The Second Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium No.10, reminds us that “the baptized, by the  regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated as  a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, in order that through all the  works of the Christian, they may offer spiritual sacrifices and proclaim the power of him who has called them out of darkness into his  marvelous light.” (Cf. 1 Pet 2:4-10)  In our personal history, which is marked by baptism, and where religious consecration takes place and finds its full meaning, by the specific gift of the Holy Spirit at our baptism, we participate in the very  mission of Jesus Christ. We are called to live and deepen our religious  consecration, in every situation, often new ones, throughout our existence.

Following Eugene de Mazenod, we insist on holiness. This holiness is  an integral exercise of the universal priesthood of the baptized. Pope  Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate calls us to  live holiness in today’s world: “We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. Are you a consecrated man or woman? Be  holy by living out your commitment with joy.” (GE 14).  It is a path of growth; just like charity, Christ left us a model in the  washing of feet: “You ought to wash one another’s feet... as I have  done for you....” (Jn 13:14-15).

We who have publicly professed in our oblation to configure ourselves to Christ, in conclusion, leave you with these few questions:

Do we live our oblation coherently in our daily commitment?

How can we be witnesses of the living Christ today?

What kind of presence must we assume so that the Lord Jesus can be seen by the people around us?

How are we witnesses to the hope that we carry in our hearts, as Saint Peter invites us to be (1 Pt 3:15)?

Do we experience being sent as signs of Christ’s fraternal love?

What key does the model of the washing of the feet give us to live the Eucharist more fully?

And finally, let us dare to reread the Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata: “The Consecrated life, deeply rooted in the example and teaching of  Christ the Lord, is a gift of God the Father to his Church through the Holy  Spirit. By the profession of the evangelical counsels, the characteristic features of Jesus – the chaste, poor and obedient one – are made constantly “visible” in the midst of the world and the eyes of the faithful are directed towards  the mystery of the Kingdom of God already at work in history, even as it  awaits its full realization in heaven.” (VC 1)

(General Committee of Oblate Brothers)

 

(Source: www.omiworld.org)

Eugene de Mazenod

Kemampuannya dalam pewartaan injil dan bakat kepemimpinannya dalam mengarahkan berbagai Misi merupakan tanda-tanda lahir hidup batin yang menjadikan Eugene de Mazenod sebagai penjala manusia.

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