The style that Eugene uses to describe the highpoint of his conversion journey is reminiscent of the heart of St. Augustine’s well-known conversion experience described in his Confessions. Eugene described it in this way:
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
For Eugene the impulse to a definitive conversion came through becoming aware of the eyes of the Savior focused on him. For Augustine it came though the realization that Jesus was the Way and the Truth and the Life, inviting him to radical transformation.
“O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”. Augustine, Confessions
“So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” I John 4:16
“I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me.” St. Augustine