An invitation to reflect on the price I pay for loving others.
One of the strongest character traits of Eugene was his ability to love people and to express his emotions. Growing up, he was strongly attached to the members of his family, for whom he declared that he would have been willing to lay down his life. When he founded the Oblates, he considered each one as a member of a new family, of which he was the father. Right up to his death we constantly find expressions of this relationship between Eugene, the father and founder, and his Oblate sons – each one loved by him in a warm and deep way. These sentiments were especially intense with some of the first young Oblates who came to join him as members. He had watched over them in their youth and had accompanied them in their growth and formation as Oblates. He knew them and he loved them.
Now at the bedside of one of these sons, he feels all the pains of a father agonizing at the suffering and death of a son.
You must not be surprised, my dear Father Guibert, if I am in arrears with you. I have received your letter at a time so painful, and my anguish has been prolonged for so long that I have not found the time to write you. We have been on the point of losing our Fr. Suzanne and now it is seventeen days we are suspended between fear and hope.
This time it was not only spitting but truly a vomiting of blood, accompanied by a tenacious fever that has not yet yielded to the most assiduous care of the art of medicine…
Letter to Hippolyte Guibert, 26 November 1828, EO VII n 316
To another of his Oblate sons he wrote:
I have had prayers said here so that the good God will preserve for us this beloved brother; do as much yourself; as for me, the sorrow that I have experienced these past two days has been so acute and so constant that I consider it a kind of miracle not to have succumbed to it; happily, I have been able to shed an abundance of tears which, I believe, has saved me. There still remains however an extreme weariness. It will cost me my life to love you as I do. Nevertheless I cannot be sorry for this or complain. Adieu.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 15 November 1828, EO VII n 314
“Grief is not a disorder, a disease or sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.” Earl A Grollman