Eugene’s Good Friday experience did not leave him standing at the foot of the Cross. The focus of his life had changed, and it became a continuous Easter – responding to the light of the Risen Christ’s, “I am with you always.”

Never was my soul more satisfied, never did it feel such happiness; for in the midst of this flood of tears, despite my grief, or rather because of my grief, my soul took wings towards its final end, towards God its only good whose loss it felt so keenly. Why say more? Could I ever express what I experienced then? Just the memory of it fills my heart with a sweet consolation.
Thus I had looked for happiness outside of God, and outside of him I found only affliction and vexation. Blessed, a thousand times blessed, that he, this good Father who, notwithstanding my unworthiness, lavished on me all the richness of his mercy.
Let me at least make up for lost time by redoubling my love for him. May all my actions, thoughts, etc., be directed towards that end. What more glorious occupation than to act in everything and for everything only for God, to love him above all else, to love him all the more as one who has loved him too late.
Ah! The happiness of heaven begins here below. This is the true way to glorify him as he wants.

Retreat Journal, December 1814, EO XV n.130

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    It can be easy to get ‘stuck’ on something at the beginning of a reading and so be unable to get past that to focus on the central message. It has been like that for me this morning. I keep returning to “I am with you always.” What immense and utter hope this promise provides. It reminds me of the invitation to sit in the sun on a spring day, to bask in its warmth, allowing its light to enter into every part of my body. So I continue to sit in this promise that comes from our Beloved, to sit and bask in the smile of immense tenderness, allowing it to permeate my being.

    My mind also keeps returning to yesterday evening. Before going to our Associate gathering we met at a nearby restaurant for dinner. What a reunion after not seeing some for almost a month. Immense joy as we hugged and greeted each other. Eating, joking and just being with each other. And then we moved to our meeting space which was at Galilee Centre. How appropriate at this time of year, on the day when the gospel reading was about Emmaus. I am reminded of the first time I attended a Lacombe Province Convocation. One of the highlights was on the opening day as I watched a family of men coming together and greeting each other, for some it was an occasion to meet with others for the first time but for most it was a coming together. The joy that I witnessed was so incredible! It was like that last night as we gathered, first at the restaurant and then meeting up with a few more at Galilee. Joy, immense joy and gratitude to be together at Galilee.

    I have not gotten around to reflecting on Eugene’s beautiful sharing from his retreat. I read it but my heart was captured and unable to focus on anything but the last words of Matthew’s gospel. “I am with you always.”

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