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