Around the age of 24 Eugene entered a period of self-searching, a journey that reached a high-point one Good Friday:
So I had looked for happiness outside of God, and outside him I found but affliction and chagrin.Blessed, a thousand times blessed, that he, this good Father, notwithstanding my unworthiness, lavished on me all the richness of his mercy.
Let me at least make up for lost time by redoubling my love for him. May all my actions, thoughts, etc., be directed to that end.
What more glorious occupation than to act in everything and for everything only for God, to love him above all else, to love him all the more as one who has loved him too late.
Retreat Journal, December 1814, E.O. XV n.130