We saw above how the new priest, Bernard Vachon, had been reprimanded by his superior in Aix, and was upset by it. Eugene’s letter continues to reassure him, in a fatherly way, that no personal harm was intended or done.
The first one I reproved in this matter was your superior himself who had thrown you too soon into a ministry which is not learnt by inspiration. He should know that a new confessor is liable to deceive himself and to be deceived. So he should have, after having given you verbally some counsels that are not to be found in the manuals, to insist that you consult him quite often about the cases that you meet and on the method that you have to follow.
We have all gone through that, my dear friend. It seems that you believed you knew enough to proceed without guidance, and that is where you deceived yourself: so much for what seems certain. But it is not a crime of which you are accused, so why be troubled? Why do you complain? I did not intend to write you about this but proposed on coming the next time to converse with you, frankly and in quite a friendly manner, to rectify what I might have found defective in your ideas and approve what might have been good.
Gently, he reminds Vachon that the aim of fraternal correction is always the good of the person, the effectiveness of his ministry and the glory of God:
So put your mind at ease and be well convinced that we never have any purpose, either in praising or blaming someone amongst us, other than the greater good of the member, the honor of the holy ministry and the glory of God.
Letter to Bernard Vachon, 28 February 1825, EO VI n.172
“Perhaps the Spirit of God is saying to many of us today, “I want to minister through you. But before I can ever minister through you, I must minister to you.” Don’t despise the educational experience of your drying stream. Don’t throw in the towel… Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be mature and complete. He wants to make you just like His Son.” Howard G. Hendricks