If we equate living in the awareness of the presence of God with living in the awareness of the sight of the Crucified Savior, we touch a keystone of Eugene’s spirituality. The former is a general precept of spirituality; the latter is Eugene’s particular understanding of the presence of his Beloved.
I would wish to have near me a faithful friend who would remind me of my Beloved in times when occupations cause me to lose sight of him.
In the absence of such a friend, I will use other means, such as, for example, raising my heart to God whenever the clock sounds, whenever someone knocks on my door, whenever a carriage passes, etc. Since I am already familiar with this practice, I have only to continue it.
Another means for developing the habit of placing oneself very often in the presence of the Saviour, is that used by the good and respected M. Emery [ed. his superior in the seminary]; he used to have a small box filled with little peas, and each time he thought of God, he passed one of these peas into another box: he used then every evening to make a count of the number of times he had been united with God during the day, he compared that with that of the previous evening, and if he had not had the thought at least every quarter of an hour, he imposed a penance on himself. That is what that venerable old man used to do in the midst of his countless occupations.
Rule drawn up on my retreat in Aix, December 1812, EO XV n. 109
An example of some simple actions to help us to become more aware of the presence of the Savior. Brother Lawrence, whose wisdom was collected in a booklet, The Practice of the Presence of God, really gets to the heart of the matter:
“People invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?” Brother Lawrence