An invitation to reflection: Am I killing myself at the service of others? When and how do I take life-restoring rest?
Marius Suzanne’s talents and zeal had led him to ignore persistent warning signs of illness and now he was dying of tuberculosis. Eugene, keeping watch, at his bedside, worried about the other Oblate missionaries who were just as dangerously neglecting their health and rest for the sake of their ministry:
I shall never cease to urge you to care for your strength. Never allow yourselves to go to extremes. This inclination does not come from God. You must, in exercising your zeal, discern what comes from God. Keep Fr. Honorat in check for he is to be watched and he ordinarily is affected by his imprudence, because he has less strength than he has will. In everything, do not be overloaded with work and do not believe you are wasting time when you are resting.”
Letter to the Oblate community in Nimes, 1 December 1828, EO VII n 317
Again, while sitting at Marius Suzanne’s bedside:
In the meantime, I recommend the greatest moderation while on missions so that you do not tire yourselves. The sight before my eyes which distresses me every moment of the day, and in a most cruel manner, makes me determined to insist as far as you are concerned that you regard the least imprudence as a crime.”
Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, 16 January 1829, EO VII n 322
“The bow cannot always stand bent, nor can human frailty subsist without some lawful recreation.” Miguel de Cervantes