What gave Eugene the inner strength to keep him going? We catch another glimpse in the Mass he celebrated at the tomb of Peter – he speaks of “the sacred fire of love” that he recalled in the lives and examples of each of these persons who had been associated with Jesus.
Prayer becomes confident, I assure you, when one feels in the company of Jesus Christ, his Vicar, his apostles and first heads of the Church such as St. Linus, etc., offering the Holy Sacrifice over bodies which have been animated by such great souls, over bodies which have touched the Saviour, from which still seems to spring the sacred fire of the love which handed them over to the torments of martyrdom, so as to confess the name of their Master, who also is ours!
Letter to Henri Tempier, 17 January 1826, EO VII n 218
His time in Rome to seek the approbation of the Oblates was all about letting “the sacred fire of the love” burn more strongly in the Oblates and to help them to light fires in the lives of the most abandoned.
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer