Continuing his journal reflection on the anniversary of Nathalie’s death, Eugene reflects on his grief.
But we who loved you so tenderly, we who looked forward to years of happiness in the sweet flowering of our common affection, how can we be consoled at your loss? This feeling is just as alive and as bitter as it was on that heart-rending day when you were taken from us. Faith, faith alone, and the hope of meeting you once again in the bosom of God can sweeten our sorrow.
Oh my God, how weak I am! Why is my heart still so worldly? Should it feel anything other than the purest joy when it thinks of the triumph of a soul which is so dear to it? Not so! Nature is there to make us feel the full weight of its oppressive might, piercing sensitive hearts so deeply with its sharp sword. Indeed there would be good reason to reprimand myself for being like this, or at least to regret it, if our loving Saviour Jesus had not previously sanctified our tears and approved of our sorrow when he wept at the death of Lazarus whom he was nevertheless to raise from the dead.
Diary, 14 November 1838, EO XIX
This is one of my favorite texts of Eugene (one of many!). Here I am drawn by the beauty of his personality because he was not afraid of expressing his feelings. He was a sensitive man of the heart. One Good Friday he had shed tears because of the tenderness of the love of his Savior whose outstretched arms showed a heart broken on the Cross for him. Many times in his prayer he had shed tears, overwhelmed by the Savior’s undying love for him.
Humanly, whenever someone close to him died he could not contain his grief and heartbreak, despite being a man of deep faith.
It was okay to weep – because Jesus had also wept at the death of the close friend whom he loved.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.” Washington Irving