A reflection on where to look for strength and consolation in time of sickness and difficulty.
“The convalescence required calm, tranquility and rest. The Founder could not enjoy it either at Aix or at Marseilles. The orders of the doctors and of Father Tempier obliged him to retire to Grans, to the house of his uncle, M. Joannis, the converted Jansenist. Father Jeancard kept company with the venerable patient, whose weakness was extreme. For several weeks he could not celebrate Mass. Father Jeancard served him as chaplain, celebrated Mass in his presence, and gave him Holy Communion.”
Rey 1 p 473
Must I speak to you of my health? I improve slowly and while it remains impossible on account of my weakness to offer the Holy Sacrifice, I have the happiness of receiving communion every day, which consoles me in my long and sorrowful infirmity.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 16 July 1829, EO VI n 333
Here, and in many writings, Eugene refers to the anchor and source of strength of his daily life: the Eucharist.
The highpoint of his day was his time of becoming physically and spiritually united with his Savior at daily Mass and in intimate communion in his evening quiet prayer (oraison). This continues to be reflected in our Rule of Life today:
“The Eucharist, source and summit of the Church’s life, is at the heart of our life and action. We will live such lives as to be able worthily to celebrate it every day…. In gratitude for this great Eucharistic gift, we will seek the Lord often in his sacramental presence.” CC&RR Constitution 33