From his writings as a young man, we know that Eugene loved Italian ice cream. Here he is a bit peeved that he sees other priests enjoying it, while he had given it up for lent. It also gives us an insight into his Lenten fast. This was a private entry in his diary and not intended for others to read.

This evening there was a grand reception at the French Ambassador’s for the promotion of Cardinal de Latil… I stayed only a minute at our Ambassador’s to honour our cardinal since I never go out in the evenings to these large gatherings. I soon left to return to my monastery, saddened to see with my own eyes a great number of people, even priests, applying ice-cream to their consciences, in spite of the Lenten fast; it is possible that ice-cream can be considered a liquid which does not break the fast, for it melts in one’s mouth; in my opinion, it cruelly offends the spirit of mortification, from which a person should not dispense oneself so easily during this holy time.
I admit that fasting would cost me less if I took a good cup of chocolate in the morning, a cup of coffee after dinner, an ice-cream in the evening preceded, an hour before, by a glass of lemonade, and finally a lunch. Actually, I would not take as much on a feast day, even on Easter Sunday

Roman Diary, 13 March 1826, EO XVII


“Ice-cream is exquisite – what a pity it isn’t illegal.”     Voltaire

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I am thinking that this is more than just about gelato, ice cream (although I cannot deny that when I was in Rome I was treated to a gelato and it was so very wonderful, an incredible treat). Eugene expresses sorrow, he says he is saddened. This man who has repeatedly given his all to God, who is passionate and on fire, who knows what extremes are. I am struck with the thought of Jesus in the Garden with his disciples, who is saddened that his friends cannot stay awake with him, wait with him. I think of the times when I see behavior from friends that to me is not acceptable, particularly when it appears that they are in my view, not being truly honest with themselves. I can take a very self-righteous view of ‘if I can do it, why can’t they?’ Not pretty but there you go. But I cannot live in that kind of space, I need to remove myself from that kind of thinking or it will destroy me. But the temptation is always there.

    Here is a time where Eugene can give into temptation on more than one level, or not and he chooses the not’. What are the temptations in my life at this moment in time? I see them before me and I need to choose how I will handle it. Self righteousness will not cut it, nor will giving into it. I need to speak to the truth of it, even if it is only aloud to my diary.

  2. Patrick M. McGee, OMI says:

    I confess, I cannot resist!

  3. anda says:

    My favorite line: “a great number of people, even priests, applying ice-cream to their consciences,….”
    My own Lenten “sacrifices”, are easily circumvented by how I justify matters to my conscience…. as if my conscience didn’t know what I was doing. Sad.

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