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

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Although I do not have Eugene’s fiery and flamboyant personality this resonates so very deeply today. It is so very easy to let the busyness take over and to just “do”. It is like becoming “lukewarm” in a way and the feeling, the sense of being alive becomes distant at best. Eventually I stop and have to look at where I am, where is God in all of it. There is a sense of “missing” something vital. And I find that like Eugene “I need solitude, I need regularity, I need good example.” I need to be nourished and fed.

    Even before I am aware of what I need, of what I want to be and do God is there ahead of me – preparing a banquet so to speak. A couple of weeks ago I decided I want to give another retreat in the fall – about how to live with God being actively present in our everyday lives and wondered how would frame it. I will be attending a conference next weekend and I just found out that the title of the conference is “Discovering and Practicing the Presence of God: Catholic Spirituality for Everyday Living”. Somehow God knowing what I will need before it is even a spark of an idea within myself and giving me what will be needed to sustain me on that small part of my journey. And to think that he somehow does this for each and every one of us. Awesome!!!
    And just as as Eugene entered into his retreat, with, I believe, a view to opening himself totally to the grace of God, and so letting go of whatever he was holding onto, we are all called to do that. The very man who needed examples (in his words) has become the one who sets the good example for me. This place here of “Eugene de Mazenod speaks to us” becomes a place of solitude where I go to daily and with the direction given I reflect on my life (there seems always to be something here that I can relate to) and look at the example that Eugene has set before me. This can become a part of my daily prayer, each morning before the busyness sets in, as well as being a place that I might return to throughout the day if needed. This becomes a part of my desert and my experience of daily manna.

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