After his priestly ordination Eugene wrote to Father Duclaux, his spiritual director, to share with him his feelings and reactions to what had just taken place. The tone that runs through the letter is one of awe at God’s immense love:
Very dear and beloved Father, I am writing this on my knees, prostrate, overwhelmed, stunned, to share with you what the Lord, in his immense, incomprehensible mercy, has just accomplished in me. I am a priest of Jesus Christ; I have already for the first time offered the awesome Sacrifice with the Bishop.
As he reflects on the wonder of the sacrament he has just received, he becomes intensely aware of his unworthiness. The more he becomes aware of his sinfulness, the deeper is his realization of the power of God’s love for him:
Yes, it is I, it really is I, the wretched sinner whose depravity you are familiar with, who has immolated the Immaculate Lamb, or at least he has immolated himself through my ministry.
Dear Father, I fancy I am dreaming when I bring to mind what I am. Joy, fear, confidence, sadness, love enter one after the other into my heart. The thought uppermost in my mind and that I get quite lost in is this: so this is how my God in his goodness takes revenge for all my acts of ingratitude, by doing so much for me that, God though he may be, he can do no more.
After this, could I ever again be tempted to offend him? Truly this is the moment to reply: it were better to die a thousand deaths.
Letter to his spiritual director, Fr. Duclaux, 21 December 1811, O.W. XIV n. 98
What he writes mirrors his Good Friday Experience nearly 5 years earlier. Awestruck by the sight of God’s love on the Cross, he had burst into tears because he had become painfully aware of being a sinner. However, the experience of God’s love changed his tears from sorrow to tears of deep peace and love. Eugene’s priestly ministry, and later that as a Missionary Oblate, was to be centred on bringing others to experience this very same process of liberation through the embrace of Jesus the Saviour.