Eugene continues to reminisce about the first day of community life of the Oblates, as he writes to the young scholastics.
The table that adorned our refectory was one plank laid alongside another, on top of two old barrels. We have never enjoyed the blessing of such poverty since the time we took the vow.
At that stage they did not make vows as religious. The vows came in a couple of years later as they aimed at living in a “state of perfection”
Without question, it was a foreshadowing of the state of perfection that we now live so imperfectly.
I highlight this wholly voluntary deprivation deliberately (it would have been easy to put a stop to it and to have everything that was needed brought from my mother’s house) so as to draw the lesson that God in his goodness was directing us even then, and really without us having yet given it a thought, towards the evangelical counsels which we were to profess later on.
It is through experiencing them that we learnt their value.
Eugene recalls the joy of that happening, and wishes he could relive it with the future Oblates.
I assure you we lost none of our merriment; on the contrary, as this new way of life was in quite striking contrast with that we had just left, we often found ourselves having a hearty laugh over it. I owed this tribute to the memory of our first day of common life. How happy I would be to live it now with you!
Letter to Jean Baptiste Mille, 24 January 1831, EO VIII n 383
“How happy I would be to live it now with you!” he continues to say to each of us today: live in the enthusiasm of the first beginnings of your vocation around the charism and spirituality he has left us