Just because a person has had a strong religious experience, and is in a process of discernment as to how to live it out, it does not automatically mean that life gets any easier. As much as one needs spiritual direction one also needs companionship from peers on the journey. The need for this deep type of companionship was always present in Eugene’s life. Here he demonstrates this need for support to his friend Emmanuel de Claubry:

And now, shall I speak of myself? Yes, but only to ask for your prayers, to give you the charge expressly to persevere in asking God to accomplish in my regard the adorable designs whose outcome I impede by my infidelities; that he might knock, prune, reduce me to desiring only what He wills, that He might overturn all the obstacles standing in the way of my arriving at a more perfect state to which I strongly believe I am called.
May he give me the grace of recognizing ever more clearly the vanities of this miserable earth, so that I see only those heavenly goods that the moth cannot corrupt. In a word may he make me worthy of the communion of saints and have me assume the place among them that he seems to have destined me for, but which it seems to me I am still far from deserving.
How I wish I were in a position to talk more clearly with you! You would be a help to me not only by your prayers, but also by your example, and at your side I would be more courageous in the battle and more assured of victory.

Letter to Emmanuel Gaultier de Claubry, 23 December 1807, EO XIV n 22


“We must learn to speak according to our own inner truth, as far as we can perceive it.  We must learn to say what we really mean in the depths of our souls, not what we think we are expected to say, not what somebody else has just said.  And we must be prepared to take responsibility for our desires, and accept the consequences”

Thomas Merton

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have been scattered this morning in my reflection with my thoughts running amok – back and forth about friendship, about companions on a deeply personal yet nevertheless shared journey. There is an temptation to see only the most imperfect side of myself in all of this.

    I have a thought – do those who have walked with me on my journey, companions who have died – do they still journey with me and pray for me? Do they now see more than ever how imperfect I am (as if to say that they did not see this before when they walked on this earth). Do they still love me as much as before? And I start to laugh – at myself, my fears, and my neediness. For I look at how I am learning to love, how my love does not change or lessen when I realize some of the weaknesses that my friends display (interesting how I ‘recognize and know them’). But if anything my love grows for them – it is directly connected with how God has loved, how God loves me. How I see them – through the eyes of Jesus on the Cross (and where have I heard or gleaned this way of thinking).

    There are a myriad of faces before me, my companions on the journey. It helps to be reminded to look and see who and how we walk with. I am not running and jumping for joy this morning but I feel better than I did when I first entered this sacred space. Today let me focus Lord on all that you have given me so that I might give thanks. Give the grace to love and journey with those even as they journey with me.

  2. Patrick M. McGee, OMI says:

    I appreciate the dual focus: my relationship with my spiritual director and my relationship with brothers in community – both of which invite me to transparency and honesty of faith sharing. The lure of individualism and isolation keeps barking at my heels (“I’m fine on my own”), yet God, Eugene, my religious consecration, all beg me to go deeper in honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to open myself to the others who accompany me in my journey. This struggle (creative tension) is of a lifetime!

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