We continue exploring the question of what gave Eugene the inner strength to keep him going. He begins his letter to Tempier by clarifying a statement he had made in a previous letter that could have been interpreted wrongly:
I begin, my dear Fr. Tempier, by rectifying a statement of my last letter which would be too absurd and ridiculous were I not writing in intimacy and trustfulness to a friend, the confidant of my most secret thoughts; certainly I would not have let it slip out with any other person. When I said I was not sinning, I meant to say that I was sinning less; the reason for this is quite simple.
He then explains that, when one is doing something important for God’s work, it is essential to live as closely united to God as possible. He used all means at his dipoosal to do this.
First, while busy with our affairs, I have tried my best to profit from all the extraordinary and manifold graces of the Jubilee.
As we have seen in previous entries above, he went out of his way to benefit from all the religious ceremonies connected with the jubilee year. Then he was consciously aware of the religious history of Rome, and that he was walking on the same streets as countless martyrs, saints and pilgrims had walked in their desire for a deeper experience of God.
Besides, everything here reminds me of the great examples of the saints who seem to be still living for those who go about this city with a measure of faith.
Thirdly, he never lost focus of the reason why he was working for the approbation of the Oblates
Moreover, having in my hands an affair of the utmost importance, of which the consequences must so influence the building up of the Church, the glorifying of God and the sanctifying of souls, an affair that hell must thwart and which can only succeed thanks to a very special protection from God, to whom alone belongs the power to touch the hearts and guide the wills of men,
For these reasons he had the duty to live in a conscious awareness of the presence of God: God
I have had of necessity to convince myself that it is my duty to do all in my power to live in the most intimate state of union with God that I possibly can and be resolved in consequence to be faithful to his grace and not give cause for grief to his spirit.
As things stand at present, the least voluntary infidelity would seem to me a crime, not only because it would be displeasing to God, which doubtless would be the worst evil, but still more because of the consequences it could bring about.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 January 1826, EO VII n 217
“All human experiences make up God’s humble path to us” T. Dunne S.J.