EUGENE AND THE HISTORY OF FRANCE: THE HUNDRED DAYS

The euphoria of the fall of Napoleon and the consequent freedom of the Church came to an abrupt end in March 1815 when Napoleon escaped from Elba and  began to rule again in Paris.

Eugene responded to this situation with vigor.

… However low my opinion of the human race, I would never have gone so far as to suppose it could sink so low as we see it now. What a nation we are! Along with faith, it has lost all sense of honour, probity, etc. One group openly betrays the most sacred of causes; they give their oath only the better to deceive an all too generous Prince who had heaped these traitors with favours and benefactions; the rest would almost be tempted to sta nd by as unruffled spectators of a struggle that scarcely seems to interest them, although their happiness depends on it. Egoism has lead to total aridity, national honour has gone by the board along with religion. What a despicable people! But we must be fair; it is the army who are guilty of this crime rather than the nation. You can see this clearly in these parts and in several other provinces.
I have only time to assure you we are well, that I am the calmest of men and the one least alarmed. My trust in Providence is unlimited.

Eugene backed his criticism with action:

I have written His Grace the Duke of Angouleme to offer him my services for his troops. I have not heard a thing in reply, perhaps I never will; but I have done my duty, which required of me this act of allegiance. Not being able to serve my King with a sword, I must serve him with every means my ministry gives me.
Goodbye, I send you all my affectionate greetings. Within a month we shall have beaten and punished all our enemies, who are those too of honour, the common good, and religion.

Letter to his father, 26 March 1815, EO XV, n 132

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One Response to EUGENE AND THE HISTORY OF FRANCE: THE HUNDRED DAYS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    A bit of a surprise this morning: “I have done my duty, which required of me this act of allegiance.” I had not expected that. Who have I sworn my allegiance to in this world? It is not a word I use or even something that I am particularly comfortable with. The closest I can liken it to right now would be what is being demanded of some who serve in the administration of the government that is south of us here.

    There must be something more than that. I remember when I watched the video of the Oblate capitulars greeting Fr. Louis Lougen when he was voted in as Superior General – that would be the closest thing to swearing allegiance that I was familiar with.

    “Not being able to serve my King with a sword, I must serve him with every means my ministry gives me.” Eugene found a way though. He would serve his King by serving as God had called him to be. Again what does that look like for me? The closest that I can think of is God and God’s Church, God’s people. A little bit ‘general’ but still very real. Even with the Oblates and Oblate Associates who I love so dearly, my family, it is in love that I serve them – in small ways. “…with every means my ministry gives me.”

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