The 23 year-old Jacques Antoine Jourdan had been ordained a priest in 1822 and immediately joined the Missionaries by entering the novitiate at Notre Dame du Laus. In February 1823 he made his oblation in Aix and joined the missionary activities of the community.

Father Hippolyte Courtès, who was his superior at the time at Aix, wrote that Jourdan’s ”personality was gentle, shy and tended toward scrupulosity.” It was in the context of his scruples leading him to a bout of intense suffering that Eugene wrote this letter of encouragement to him.

My dear, good Jourdan, may the peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you! What’s this? Could you be without this precious peace that the divine Master came to bring to the world? Ah! if that were so, my good friend, it would indeed be your fault. Why do you allow your soul to be troubled by scruples which torment you and cause such great detriment?
… It is not the thoughts and all the other miseries which obsess you which will make you offend God; you sadden his paternal heart only by lacking confidence in his goodness, in thinking too little of him as a good father who cherishes you and wishes to save you.

Letter to Jacques Antoine Jourdan, 30 March 1823, EO VI n 99


To every toiling, heavy-laden sinner, Jesus says, “Come to me and rest”. But there are many toiling, heavy-laden believers, too. For them this same invitation is meant. Note well the words of Jesus, if you are heavy-laden with your service, and do not mistake it. It is not, “Go, labour on,” as perhaps you imagine. On the contrary, it is stop, turn back, “Come to me and rest.” Never, never did Christ send a heavy laden one to work; never, never did He send a hungry one, a weary one, a sick or sorrowing one, away on any service. For such the Bible only says, “Come, come, come.”      James Hudson Taylor

This entry was posted in LETTERS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Not an “aha” moment, but something softer, one that invites me to pause and whisper softly “yes” as I look at my God. “….you sadden his paternal heart only by lacking confidence in his goodness, in thinking too little of him as a good father who cherishes you and wishes to save you.” I think sometimes I forget and spend too much time ‘naval gazing’ when I could be looking up and past. Instead of running away from God in a contrived game of shame I need to be turning around and running towards life.

    Before me is my God, who created me as I am and who knows every bone and drop of blood in me, and even deeper, who knows every fibre of my being, the essence that is me. My God, who is somehow a part of the deepest core of my being. I am [one of] God’s most precious child, his beloved. I do need always to look at myself with honesty, I need always to acknowledge my humaness. I can though, acknowledge my sinfulness, my sorrow, safely from within God’s embrace. Would I turn away when I hear God’s voice whisper “I love you”.

    Imagine acknowledging our sin, our frailty and then turning away from God because we decide that we are too bad [for God to love]. That is the sin. We rob ourselves of the very gifts of life, of love that God has created us to receive. I am reminded of Eugene’s lenten homily from the Church of the Madeleine when he says to the people “You are God’s children…there is within you an immortal soul made in the image of God…more precious in the eyes of God than all earth’s riches.” I am thinking of the words that we pronounce aloud during the Mass just before we receive the Eucharist; “O Lord I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” We acknowledge our sinfulness, our humanness, but then ask God to heal us. All as we step into the embrace of our God. The embrace of our God who waits only for us to allow ourselves to be loved.

  2. Joyce Fegan says:

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful messages that are sent to me, they give me such hope and look at the Lord in a new light each time. A very loving Father who meets me more than I could ever realize and with such love to carry on when things are a bit rough.

  3. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    To hear a fathers care and a wisdom through his own experience.
    Eugene was so often driven to mission and a good deal of perfectionism. Yet he also saw that this could lead one to doubting God’s mercy and God’s friendship.
    So often we get caught in doing the right thing and stressing over it that we miss the mystery and majesty of the moment.

  4. Anda says:

    I probably should have read this before Sunday…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *