Eugene’s reflections were within the context of having been invited by the Jesuits to celebrate the Mass for the feast of their founder, St. Ignatius. He was a strong admirer of Ignatius and the Jesuits, and the contribution they had made to the Church
Again yesterday, when the solemnity and length of the ceremonies of the Feast of St. Ignatius, at which they asked me to preside, and the circumstance of it being the last day of my forty-eighth year, aroused in me more devout thoughts and holy desires and allowed me also leisure to reflect with Jesus Christ present and exposed, how deep into my soul I plunged! How many and diverse my feelings!
He reflected on the marvels worked by Ignatius and his first companions
I was happy at the altar as I offered the Holy Sacrifice for the Order of Jesuits without forgetting our own family. I congratulated their holy Founder for the marvels he had worked. But how great the help he received! There is nothing like it in our days. Though he had so many heretics and bad Christians as enemies, how mightily he was protected by most eminent Popes and Bishops! Seeing everything as lost in the Church they confided to his Order the fate of the Church: it was thus he obtained all…
All this was achieved because of the quality of his first companions
But, let it be noted, by what men he was supported! From the first years of their coming together, it could be said of each of them that they did more than he did. I do not speak only of the first companions, I speak of all those who joined them as soon as they became known. It seems that all those zealous to defend the Church so horribly torn apart, who felt they had the ability to be useful to her and the virtue to devote themselves to this great task, flocked to the banner of Ignatius. His company was from the beginning an army of generals. Can we then be surprised at all they have done!
Letter to Henri Tempier, 1 August 1830, EO VII n 351