The spiritual journey requires accompaniment and discernment. In Eugene’s case the spiritual journey seemed to be leading him to the priesthood – a discernment in which he searched for help:

having consulted at Paris one of the best directors existing in the world.

He is referring here to the Sulpician Father Antoine Duclaux, whom he consulted by letter and who not only encouraged Eugene to become a priest, but guided him as his spiritual director in all his major decisions for the next 20 years. (cf )

The second person he turned to for help in his discernment was Father Augustine Magy, who had been a Jesuit priest until their suppression:

I went to Marseilles for the express purpose of baring my soul to a saintly and experienced man

Letter to his mother, 23-24 March 1809, EO XIV n 49


“Our God is greater than our own heart and mind, and too easily we are tempted to make our heart’s desires and our mind’s speculations into the will of God. Therefore, we need a guide, a director, a counselor who helps us to distinguish between the voice of God and all other voices coming from our own confusion or from dark powers far beyond our control.” Henri Nouwen

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Sometimes coming to this place can be fearful – not because I am fearful of God, but rather because I am fearful of myself. I am fearful of the ‘what ifs’ that arise. The dreaded secret ‘what ifs’ that we keep hidden deep within us and let out only in moments of great weakness or struggle. What if. What if God really doesn’t love me quite as much as I believe him to? What if. What if it is as I was taught those many years ago, that I am not ‘enough’ to be loved? What if. What if this all be just a matter of total madness? What if.

    But the ‘what ifs’ and their accompanying panic and fear quickly begin to dissipate as I delve deeper. God has blessed me greatly and given me wonderful Spiritual Directors in my life. It would seem that I have not only a Spiritual Director with large letters but also spiritual directors with little letters. I look back on my life and see the role that all have played, how all have walked with me. It can be quite specific and equally casual as we nourish each other.

    This place here – I am not alone, I do not walk or pray or reflect here alone. It is a constant invitation to question and pray, to share and reflect. Not alone but with all who come here in prayer. My time here is not necessarily ‘peaceful’ or without question and struggle, but it is so good. I cannot do it on my own, I need to be able to walk with and receive input even when it is not easy to listen to and move out from that. Again I quickly look back over the years and how I have had to face my fears, and struggle with what has been shared and taught. I have had to pray with it all and then sit and be in it.

    I look at how people will spend small fortunes to have ‘life coaches’ and mentors walk with them for all the physical and worldly stuff. I for my part, know and believe that I need this for my inner stuff, for my spiritual stuff and then from there will flow the outside and worldly stuff. (I hear whispers of ‘being’ with the ‘doing’ flowing from that.)

    The first couple of lines from a song which I sing often to myself; “Do you know what I have done for you, you who call me your teacher and your Lord….” Again this morning I am blessed in coming here for that is what I begin reflecting on in this sacred space and being able to look even at myself through eyes of infinite mercy. If this be all madness then I gladly run and take my place on this journey with fools.

  2. Maria Cristina Falcon says:

    Oh yes! I want to be a fool for Christ!

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