Continuing to reflect on the news he is receiving in Rome about the preaching in Aix, Eugene responds to the indifference and criticism of some of the participants in the missions.
I have not understood what Fr. Courtès wished to say to me about the humiliations of which he speaks; I presume that it is the contempt of those for whom we sacrifice ourselves.
He reassures the Oblates that this must not put them off. As long as their main focus in ministry is the welfare of the people, they must not be knocked off balance by those who are negative.
That is a very small misfortune. All I desire is that they preach in a profitable manner, putting aside all self-love. One will not produce much fruit otherwise.
The only key to a successful attitude to ministry is to realize that it is the quality of the life of the preacher, and not his words that changes people.
I hope that our Fathers will have told themselves also to act with much prudence, when having to do with persons so badly disposed. Recommend that they conduct themselves like saints, like real apostles, joining to their preaching an exterior modesty, a great charity for sinners.
Let people be able to perceive from their manner that they are not ordinary preachers, that they are truly animated by a zeal which is proper to their holy vocation. Let them not forget themselves if they wish to be truly useful to others.
Let them therefore pray much. The good God will then come to their help and all will go well.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 30 March 1826, EO VII n 233
“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” Mark Twain