The confused Riccardi had left the Oblate novitiate and then come to his senses. Eugene decided to give him another chance and to encourage the obvious good that he saw in this young man.
After yielding to a scarcely credible impulse and making up your own mind about it, then coming a little to your senses again and realizing your fault, overpowered somewhat as you are by the obvious truth, you make the admissions I have recalled to you above and add still another: “you foresee that in the world you will be out of your element” and, besides laying before me motives that you think have some weight, you beg me to decide what you should do while promising to submit yourself entirely to anything I will judge helpful to your salvation, remarking that only my reply, whatever it may be, can get you out of the predicament in which you find yourself….
But as I cannot entirely divest myself of the feelings with which God inspired me in your regard when I took over your direction, and as it is painful for me to rule for an exclusion which would have such grim results for you, I will decide nothing from here and will refrain from making up my mind until I am on the spot. In the meantime, live under the obedience of M. Tempier and follow exactly whatever he prescribes for you.
Eugene wrote this letter on 17 February from Rome, the very day of the approbation of the Oblate Congregation by the Pope – a day of joy and of acknowledgement of the validity of the Oblate ideal. For the founder, a time of joy and also of disappointment.
For my part, I will pray God for you that, through the intercession of all the saints of whom I am reminded here, those especially who grasped better than you the words of life contained in the evangelical counsels, followed them with great generosity and inculcated them in countless others, you may return to your better self, cease to obstruct God’s plans for you and give proofs of your repentance and perseverance in doing what is right.
May I be able on my return to ensure your true happiness without compromising the honour and tranquillity of the Society to which God has just given, this very evening, the greatest proof of protection that we can hope for on earth. I did not need your letter to dampen my rightful joy with a bitter sorrow that you certainly ought to have spared me. Adieu.
Letter to Nicolas Riccardi, 17 February 1826, EO VII n 225
“Resist your fear; fear will never lead to you a positive end. Go for your faith and what you believe.” T. D. Jakes