Eugene’s own conversion experience had been the awareness of God’s boundless love and mercy:
Blessed, a thousand times blessed, that he, this good Father, notwithstanding my unworthiness, lavished on me all the richness of his mercy
Retreat Journal, December 1814, O.W. XV n.130
He describes how he experienced the closeness of God’s love once he had acknowledged his sinfulness:
you forgot all my acts of ingratitude to help me as powerfully as if I had been always faithful to you; my tender father, who carried this rebel on your shoulders, warmed him against your heart, washed his wounds, etc.
Notes made during the retreat in preparation for priestly ordination
1-21 December , O.W. XIV n. 95
He is describing the experience of being “hugged” by God
Now, the Missionary – the “co-operator of the Savior” – has to treat the sinner in exactly the same manner as he has been treated:
For the rest, let the missionaries always be ready to welcome sinners with inexhaustible charity. Let them encourage the penitents by their pleasant manner, and by showing a compassionate heart.
In a word, let them treat them as they themselves would wish to be treated if they were in the same unfortunate condition.
1818 Rule Part 1, Chapter 3, §2 Regarding Confession
“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” Frederick Buechner