Why say more? Could I ever express what I experienced then?
Just the memory of it fills my heart with a sweet satisfaction…
In words, he could not ever express what the experience did to him, but in action he could.
Blessed, a thousand times blessed, that he, this good Father, notwithstanding my unworthiness, lavished on me all the richness of his mercy.
The sight of the cross, proof of the love of God lavished on Eugene, called forth love as a response.
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. Ah! this is to begin already here below the blessed life of heaven. That is the true way to glorify him as he wants.
Retreat Journal, December 1814, O.W. XV n.130
For the rest of his life Eugene would use the word “oblation” to describe love responding to love. His first major gesture of oblation was his decision to become a priest. Just a few hours before his priestly ordination, he recalled his conversion experience and responded in love:
O blindness! Forever blessed, O my God, be the sweet violence that in the end you did to me! Without this masterstroke, I would still be wallowing in my sewer or perhaps have perished there; and in that case, what would have become of my soul? O my God, don’t I have every reason to devote myself entirely to your service, to offer you my life and all that I am, so that all that is in me may be employed and spent for your glory?
Retreat notes before his ordination, December 1811, O.W. XIV n.95
“Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.” John of the Cross