Eugene had every reason to be proud of the ordination and first Mass of Hippolyte Courtès – he had been the mentor of this young man both in the Youth Congregation and later in his formation as a Missionary. The intense emotion of Eugene during these ceremonies was not only because of human friendship, but because the aim of his ministry was to bring others to a deeper relationship with God.
It reflected the bond between Paul and Timothy, where Paul described him as: “Timothy, true child of mine in the faith” (ITim 1:2).
The joy of Eugene was that of a spiritual father rejoicing in the presence of the God at work in the young man:
Mass lasted for an hour and a half and I don’t say enough; but everyone found it too short…
It’s not a matter of faith at those happy moments, you don’t think about it, you see, feel, and touch;
Oh! No. You no longer touch earth, you find yourself, without knowing how, in full communication with heaven.
We are, in a word, in God as we will be when, after being freed from this covering of flesh, we will be able to contemplate him face to face.
And so how delighted we all were!
Letter to Adrien Chappuis, 31 July 1820, O.W. XIII n. 31
“For this reason I am sending you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord; he will remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, just as I teach them everywhere in every church.” 1 Corinthians 4:17
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning