Eugene wants his retreat to be a time of honest evaluation and conversion. He prays:

Lord, make a ray of your heavenly light shine on me so that I may see myself as you see me;
inspire my soul with the feelings it should have at the sight of its sins;
grant me, I beg you, through the infinite merits of your Passion, through your precious Blood poured out for me, through the intercession of your most holy Mother,
grant me the spirit of repentance to convert and change me;
may your grace breathe new life into in me the gifts – I do not say virtues – you gave me and I have not made good use of, like a faithful servant.
May I leave this retreat filled with a new vitality, firmly resolved not merely to do good, but to do all the good that it is possible for me to do.
My God, remember your mercies, for you are my God, Deus meus es tu and I am your poor servant quia ego servus tuus

Retreat notes, May 1824, EO XV n. 156

 Psalm 118:28: You are my God, I give you thanks; my God, I offer you praise.

Psalm 116:16: LORD, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your maidservant; you have loosed my bonds.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Let me see myself as you see me – what an awesome thing to ask for. Here we have Eugene risking it all, great daring. Grant me the spirit of repentence to convert and change me. To look and see all – all those tiny things and thoughts and ways of being that we don’t necessarily act out, or let anyone else know about (even sometimes ourselves) – our responses and reactions to others – all of the little (and big) hurts that we hang onto like shields that would protect us (from who?). And it was not just the negatives, the sins – those things surely, but if we are going to look at ourselves as does our God then we will need to acknowledge the beauty and the good that we are readily given. We have been created in the image of God – we need to receive and acknowledge these gifts too. It is from the both that there rises within us the need to thank and praise our God, to acknowledge that we his/her servants , freed from the slavery within. The song rises from within, be it the Psalms or the Magnificat.

    And as I read and listen I see that Eugene goes into all of this not in a spirit of dread , but rather with great hope and expectancy – knowing, trusting that God will remember His promise and will grant him mercy and forgiveness and then fill him before sending him out again. He knows that without God he can’t even manage a spirit of repentance on his own – even that must be given by God.

    This is why I am where I am – at a ‘Mazenodian conference’ which I am allowing myself to enter into in the spirit of it being a small little retreat. The gifts that God will give have begun – in His taking all that I turn over to him, and receiving all that comes my way from the speakers and organizers, the people taking care of us and seeing to all our everyday needs, to the people who are here with me, sharing who they are, being who they are. I take it all in, take them all in – this is what will build and strengthen me. As Eugene said and which I can only copy and repeat as I give praise and thanks – for You are my God and I am your servant.

  2. anda says:

    Part of this week was horrendous, leading me to question the reasons for my being in my pastoral position, certainly in who I am and how those around perceive me and my actions, and the gifts I have been given through grace. Part of me wants desperately to get away as in flee. Another part wants me to get away to think/meditate/discern, but I fear that I would not have the “hope” of which St Eugene speaks, or the courage to dare, and I definitely need the grace to ask that God “grant me the spirit of repentance to convert and change me;”.

    • Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

      Anda – you had the courage and took the risk to speak here. I am sure that God heard your cry. In that you can most definitely take hope. Remember you are not alone and as I said God has heard your cry. I have been hearing quite a few times here in Texas – Be not afraid, I go before you always…. in fact I have been signing it off and on. You are halfways there. The only thing left for you right now is to sit back in trust and listen for his answer. Know I am thinking of you and praying for you.

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