Father Eymard receives the approval of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament
See to it that no one captivates you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental powers of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:6-15)
On the 12th of September 1863, the bishop of Angers, France (Bishop Angebault) accepted the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament into his Diocese. This event, and the above passage from the letter of Paul to the Colossians, made me recall how Saint Peter Julian Eymard responds to those who disqualify his calling as a founder.
It was a common belief in the 17th century that the founders of religious congregations were people with a full relationship with God, and the signs of having this “relationship” were having mystical visions or ecstatic experiences; hence, they were in a higher spiritual plane. But when Father Eymard was asked what was the base of his conviction and the proof of his new vocation, his response was:
I have no miracle, no vision, nothing extraordinary exteriorly. God draws me forcefully to this work. (…) His grace has been working on my soul. I fought it; I feared it. I was afraid of the cross, trials, and suffering. (…) I see God asked me for the whole sacrifice, that I burn the basket I wanted to keep for myself. I surrender myself entirely to his grace. It’s done.
Father Eymard shows us that we have a full relationship with God because of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We share in the fullness of Christ through our baptism and forgiveness of our sins. God works in our souls; no one should disqualify anyone based on human standards and tradition alone. What matters is Christ’s reality, who dwells and is actively at work in us and our reality in Christ.
Father in heaven, please open our eyes and heart to the direction you want us to take. Lead us to your truth and love, and help us make wise decisions that will lead us closer to your path. Give us strength and courage to persevere so our lives may bring glory to your name. Amen.