On returning to Aix as a newly-ordained priest, Eugene had set the tone of his ministry:
My chief occupation will be to love him, my chief concern to make him loved. To this I will bend all my efforts, time, strength, and when after much toil I have succeeded in winning but a single act of love towards so good a Master, I will rightly consider myself very well paid.
Retreat notes, December 1812, O.W. XV n. 109
As a gifted preacher, Eugene was capable of successfully transmitting this primary concern to his listeners. His uncle Fortuné describes the opening sermons of the mission in Aix, in which Eugene had preached in Provençal (feeling ill at ease in the presence of the ecclesiastical dignitaries):
Last evening, your son delivered the opening sermon of the mission at Saint Sauveur Cathedral and also at Saint Jean’s church in the suburbs, both of which were packed solid. He commanded perfect silence and spoke with the tongue of an angel although he himself felt that he must have sounded like a bumpkin at Saint Sauveur, since it was the metropolitan church, and the Archbishop and the entire Chapter were present. In fact, he humbled himself to the extent of making a public apology at the end of his sermon. This affected his listeners so deeply that Father Guigou, speaking in Provencal for the Archbishop, replied that Father de Mazenod was doing himself an injustice by thinking that his language was not lofty enough for the sacred ministry he has been serving with such credit to himself and with such gratification to the public. As the Archbishop passed me on his way to celebrate Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, he remarked: “Your nephew is much too modest. Would that I could do as well.”
Fortuné de Mazenod to Eugene’s father, 13 March 1820, P.R. FB VI-3
(Quoted in Leflon 2, p.121)
“Lord, make my life a window for Your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect Your love to all I meet.” Robert Schuller