What gave Eugene the inner strength to keep him going? His private journal reflection on the Mass he celebrated at the tomb of Peter, gives us an insight into this:
I went for the third time to say holy mass at the confession of Saint Peter, always with new consolation. Oh! Did I ever feel at home in that crypt! My mass was a little long, I was counting on the good grace of my server who knew his time would be well rewarded. How many things there are to ask from God when you are offering the holy sacrifice over the body of an apostle like Saint Peter!
The next time I go, I will give more time to Saint Paul; today Saint Peter’s faith, his love for Jesus Christ, his sorrow at having offended him, Our Lord’s feelings for him, the prerogatives with which he enriched him, the burning desire to share in all those beautiful virtues, to draw from that source, to cling to and attach myself irrevocably to that foundation stone, etc., took up all my attention. It was only at the Confiteor, while twice naming the apostle Saint Paul, at the prayers, at the canon, I also recommended myself to that great apostle, but I noticed, after taking account of my feelings, that without intending to exclude Saint Paul, and without being aware of it,
my devotion focused mainly on the Prince of the Apostles, who certainly obtained for me some drops of that interior consolation which gives a hint of heaven’s joy. It seemed to me that I would have agreed to die at that moment, but it was only a passing fancy, which nevertheless still lingered on during my thanksgiving. That’s not the end of it to receive such favours, but you have to profit from and cooperate with God’s mercy which is truly incomprehensible in regard to poor miserable sinners like ourselves.
Roman Diary, 16 January 1826, EO XVII
“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, people cannot live without a spiritual life.” Buddha