A click onto a webpage of world news, before or after you read this reflection, will fill your screen with images and descriptions of violence, deceitful politicians and countless situations where Gospel values seem to be totally absent. Human nature has not changed since the existence of Eugene’s Youth Congregation, and those young people faced a similar world. Eugene’s concern was to help them to navigate through all this with the help of a Pilot who would assure a safe journey:
Art 38. Prayer must be regarded as the soul and the safeguard of Christianity and of religious sentiment. Surrounded on all sides by so many dangers, how will young people escape the evils which they are threatened? What remedy will they will use, what means will they take to escape from it?
Jesus Christ, our Divine Savior, himself who answers: Pray, do not stop praying. Ask, knock, and you will receive in abundance all the help that you need to do good, to overcome so many obstacles, to conquer and to subdue even so many unrelenting enemies who are eager to destroy us.
It is through prayer that the congregants achieve victory over their passions, and perseverance in the ways of goodness.
Statuts, Chapitre XIII
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, wrote: “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” Eugene had understood that learning to live in God’s presence, the young people of Aix would bloom like flowers.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18