The young Marius Bernard was obviously struggling with temptations – the text does not specify their nature, but they were causing obvious distress in his life.. Eugene counsels and encourages him:

There is nothing simpler, more common, my dear friend, than to have temptations, to be exhausted, even agitated, by detestable thoughts; the greatest saints have gone through these trials and all good men who still live on earth are exposed to this cruel persecution that the enemy of salvation wages even against the children of light.
Should one therefore be surprised? Should it cause one to sink into sadness? Certainly not since it is not a right of Satan and all his instruments to trouble our soul and cause it to lose the peace which the Holy Spirit who dwells in us has come to establish.
Even if the body should feel the annoying impression or intensity of these thoughts, or perhaps only the effect of the blood and its irritations, one must take care not to indulge in an analysis which is ever dangerous.
Your habitual disposition to love God, your constant will not to willingly offend him ought to suffice to reassure you fully.

Letter to Marius Bernard, 16 June 1824, EO VI n. 143

Our Rule of Life stresses the need for accompaniment in difficult situations: “Each member is invited to seek the counsel and support of a spiritual director in order to discern God’s action in his life and to grow through his personal and apostolic experiences and difficulties.”   CC&RR, Rule 33b


“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”   2 Corinthians 12:9

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I feel like I should be “cutting this out and taping it in front of me” today. Such a direct address it feels to me. Such comfort it brings, such hope.
    I remember the first time I heard the term “Spiritual Director” – it was over 30 years ago and I had just arrived at Madonna House (having travelled from the other side of the country) – everything was new and very different. Other people were talking about their spiritual directors and I thought that I’d better get one too – after all God really loved me. I am grateful for both God’s and my first spiritual director’s love, patience, wisdom and sense of humor. I look back on the “whys” of me taking a spiritual director with a small grin. “bringing things into the light” are the words that now come to mind. My doubts, fears, questions, joys, desires. It’s not confession, not reconciliation, but much more than that. It requires great trust, openness, vulnerability, love ….. Left to my own devices – well I can play games in my mind, and my mind, the ego is not on it’s own always my best friend. I need to be able to bring everything out into the light, and not hide from myself. I need to be challenged, to listen (and not just to my own voice). I need the human interaction with others, the love, support and friendship. I can do nothing alone on my own.

    Today is no different from any other – I receive so from Eugene. I am as always a tiny bit amazed but am no longer am surprised. It is a “relief” to hear it all for it means I am no different from any other. I receive it from Eugene, from many in the community(s) around me. As I reflect this morning there is such a great sense of being a part of “we”, not alone. Together and yet individual. I do not feel sad and yet there is sweet solace in all of this.

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