Eugene concludes his retreat by saying that all that is written in the Rule, all that he has meditated on, is there to “maintain the spirit of our vocation.” In other words, whatever is our Rule of Life, its purpose is to keep us focused on our baptismal call to discipleship as we express it in our relationship with God, with one another and with self in the light of the Gospel.
These things are all precious. They are eminently suited to keep us in the spirit of our vocation, to have us acquire new virtues and the most abundant merits; that is why the Rule insists that the missionary especially one who has rendered the most striking services to the Church, procured the most glory for God and saved the greatest number of souls in the exercise of the holy missions, hasten joyfully into the bosom of our communities there to make himself forgetful of people and renew himself by the practice of obedience and humility and all the hidden virtues, in the spirit of his vocation and the fervour of religious perfection, without neglecting his other duties:
Then Eugene quotes directly from the Rule about the necessity for personal renewal using several means:
When the missionaries are not on a mission, they will return with joy to the holy solitude of their own house, so that they may employ their time to renew the spirit of their vocation by meditation on the divine law and the study of Sacred Scripture, the fathers of the Church, dogmatic and moral theology, and the other branches of ecclesiastical science. Moreover, they will be earnest in their efforts to prepare new material for their next missions.”
… Living like this one is sure of pleasing God and then there is no obstacle to one approaching the Saviour, uniting oneself with him by the Sacrament of his love in the daily offering of the holy Sacrifice.
Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163
We conclude this set of reflections on Eugene’s retreat as we begin Holy Week – where he will accompany us through our celebration of the Paschal mystery. May this Holy Week be an opportunity to “return with joy to the holy solitude” of our own hearts so as to renew ourselves “in the spirit of our vocation” as Christian disciples.