How often in my past life had my wounded, tormented heart taken wings for God from whom it had turned away!
… I could then, and also on some other instance, perceive the difference. Never was my soul more satisfied, never did it feel such happiness
Retreat Journal, December 1814, O.W. XV n.130
What God-choices had Eugene made in his life? At the College of Nobles the 9 year-old had received first communion and confirmation and manifested a lively sense of faith. In Venice, his admiration for Don Bartolo, and all he received from this family, would almost not have given Eugene any choice but to adhere to the strict religious expectations required of him. The way in which he lost his religious fervor in Palermo and in the initial years of his return to Aix, makes one wonder at how deeply he had integrated it as a child and adolescent. As time passed in Aix and he became disenchanted with his lifestyle, the solid foundations received in Turin and by Don Bartolo appear to re-emerge. We see the young adult now making adult decisions and choices and making this foundation his own. He needed the “sight of the cross” with its conviction of the enduring love of God for him to be the impulse to say his definitive “yes” and never turn back.
Seven years later he continued to affirm: “Never was my soul more satisfied, never did it feel such happiness.” It was a serenity that would never leave him, and would become the goal of his missionary life: to lead others the “sight of the cross” and to his same experience of resurrection serenity and conviction, regardless of difficult circumstances.
Eugene’s ministry and invitation continues to you and to me today. If we allow him to lead us constantly to the sight of the cross, his same experience of resurrection serenity and conviction will be ours, regardless of difficult circumstances.
“Through the eyes of our crucified Savior we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection” C4