On the eve of engaging myself in a great commitment for the rest of my days, I enter into myself…
Thus begins Eugene’s journal for the day prayer in preparation for the oblation for life he was to make as a religious with vows.
As he enters into self-evaluation he touches on the constant theme of his retreats during these past years: his lack of focus as a result of being over-extended in his commitments and activities.
On the eve of engaging myself in a great commitment for the rest of my days, I enter into myself to humble myself before God for the small progress I have made in the ways of perfection, bitterly to lament the difficulty I am experiencing in getting out of the habitual state of being lukewarm that I have fallen into since my duty has obliged me to focus my attention on others and I have been almost entirely forgetful of myself.
He finds himself lukewarm in the light of the fiery ideals expressed at the previous highpoints of his life – always linked with the grace to want to be totally centred on God. The events of the previous few years have led him to understand that living “all for God” pushes him not into a monastic contemplative lifestyle, but into serving God in others:
let me devote myself anew and forever to my neighbour’s service, but with less neglect of myself, let me be more watchful over my inner self, and not let myself get entirely absorbed by works of exterior zeal, i.e., in a word, let me work at one and the same time both for the salvation of others and for my own sanctification.
God’s grace has been transforming him and so he prays that this grace of God may not be in vain:
My God, the fault is mine alone, for your grace never ceases to go before me, to stimulate me, and is ever my companion.
Lord, make me more docile to following its promptings,
more attentive to hearing its inspirations,
more faithful in putting into practice the resolutions it dictates.
Day’s Retreat, during the community retreat, 30 October 1818,
O.W. XV n. 148
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9