Always the obligation to retrace Jesus Christ in our persons: We will meditate especially …on the virtues of our Lord Jesus Christ, for these should be obvious in the life of our members.

Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163

 Using the image of a painter, he wrote when he was a seminarian:

To make myself like Jesus Crucified
It is like the painter who copies a model.
studies him carefully,
concentrates on him,
tries to engrave his image in his spirit,
then he traces some lines on the paper, which he compares with the original ,
then he makes corrections until he is satisfied that it conforms with the original, then he continues…

Unpublished exercise book, in the Archives of the OMI General House, Rome

Eugene is not aiming at transforming himself into an exact photographic reproduction of Jesus the Savior. That is unrealistic and impossible. Like an artist, Eugene’s spirituality consists in focusing intensely on the model, and then allowing that model to express himself through the vision of the artist’s experience and understanding of the human person and of the world in which he lives.

Eugene invites each of us, members of his charism family, to follow his example and become artists!

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Another struggle this morning. I sit here telling myself that I ‘should’ be capable of understanding and doing this. A piece of scripture come to mind – the story of the young man who asks Jesus what he must do to ‘gain eternal life’ and who goes away sad upon hearing the response of Jesus for he has a lot to get rid of. But I – I who have so much to give and even more to let go of, refuse to be daunted by what seems to be impossible. I follow, I persevere, not always in step with, from behind and often running to catch-up. Somehow I manage to let go of one thing after another; a slow and sometimes painful process and yet I notice as I look at myself that there is new life and joy in that letting go. I want to be able to love as Jesus loves/loved and so I follow and imitate that. And sometimes, for an instant I catch up or more likely I am picked up and carried – and then – our eyes meet…

    I think of my experience of the Cross, of Jesus and the Cross from some years ago, of me holding Jesus for an endless moment; yesterday looking at that again and for the first time noticing the dirt and the blood in all of that – Jesus, real and not some purified picture on a wall. Jesus – from his falls as he carried the cross, from his wounds – messy, not nice or beautiful and yet I dared to love him with the mess and pain – no matter the cost. (I think for a second of Jesus healing the leper.) Perhaps that is the redrawing of lines that Eugene speaks of. I did not intend to again focus on the Cross or the heart and yet that is where the brush or the pencil seems to return to.

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