Eugene had been thrown into such a “whirlwind of business matters” in Marseille that he feared that he had become lukewarm in his religious and spiritual life because he was not doing enough to nourish it.
If people but knew how weak I am, how imperfect, the depth of corruption and sin inside me, could they expose me to so much danger, lay on me any other duties than to work at my own sanctification? I need solitude, I need regularity, I need good example. Without these I become lukewarm and my insipid spirit is no longer good for anything unto life eternal.
Referring to the Book of Revelation 3:16: “But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth,” he continues:
May God grant even so that the state in which I am cast by this whirlwind of business matters which preoccupy, agitate, absorb me, be not that state I have always dreaded and from which in all likelihood I have been unable to preserve myself in these latter times. God grant, God grant that I may not be worse still and that the Lord is not just starting to vomit me from his mouth, but that he may not have implacably banished me from before his face.
Retreat notes, May 1824, EO XV n. 156
When one considers Eugene’s fiery temperament, these fears of being lukewarm are certainly alarm signals that show the depth of his concern about his state.
“The most generous choices, especially the persevering, are the fruit of profound and prolonged union with God in prayerful silence.” Pope John Paul II