Six months of emotional drain, grief and countless hours of keeping watch at the bedside of the seriously ill and dying eventually took its toll on the health of Eugene. He became seriously ill himself in Aix and was to be incapacitated for the next six months. After describing the suffering of Hippolyte Courtès, he continues to tell Tempier about his own physical condition.
The pain I have in my heart has been strong and persistent yesterday and today; it has now been clearly proved to me that one’s state of mind has an extraordinary influence on our physical condition. I am going to see if, in the event it is impossible to cure the soul of its wounds, I can, by means of remedies, neutralize the reaction that my body is undergoing.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 11 May 1829, EO VII n 329
Four days later he reported to Tempier:
This evening, at the same time as the preceding one, I felt pain in the heart, but while it hurt, it was not nearly as strong as during the evening before, and lasted not so long. Hence I was able, while having some trouble in breathing, not only to sit up in bed, but to get up… My actual state is that of a man whose interior organs do not have enough room to dilate and perform their functions while I am constricted in the chest, in the heart, in the stomach, in the head, everywhere. It is something quite bizarre but does not disquiet me at all.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 May 1829, EO VII n 330
Six months of being battered emotionally, with little regard for his physical well-being, now caused havoc to his health. He had no choice but to listen to his body.
Today, in our age of instant global communication, our well-being is under constant attack by so many negative forces. How much time and energy do we focus on caring for our bodies so as to maintain a healthy state of mind?
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” I Corinthians, 6:19-20