Some gossip had reached Eugene’s ears about something that Hippolyte Courtès was reputed to have said about a conflict regarding a newspaper connected with an ongoing conflict in the French church (the Lammenais question, whose details I am not entering into here).

.. . I am asking you now to give me a straightforward answer to what I am going to say to you. If you are in the wrong, admit it sincerely. If there has been exaggeration or even falsehood refute the charge to the best of your ability…

Eugene needs to get to the truth and opens the door for Fr. Courtès to enter and clarify. 

I am waiting to receive your conscientious explanation of this matter, whether it be to humble yourself before God if you are at fault, or to refute the charge that I wish to believe rashly made by those who attribute this conduct to you.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 4 November 1831, EO VIII n 407

Good advice for us when, almost on a daily basis, we are confronted with gossip about others. How openly do we react in order to establish the truth and take appropriate steps?

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I come late this morning, tired and look at the title with a small groan – O God I know what this is like. Another sin that I need to look at, to confess and try not to do again. There is a moment of resistance as I tell myself that surely I cannot be so bad as to sin without stop all of the time. And I listen to my thoughts. Is this a sin or is it a weakness – has there been intent to sin, to hurt another.

    I groan aloud – for this has struck uncomfortably close to home- it is perhaps a little of both. O God how can I love so much and yet be so weak, so wounded? I know that I am not looking at it from a good frame of mind and am reminded for a moment of what I wrote about St Eugene yesterday in my assignment and how he seemed almost to turn in on himself when he was in a very painful and hard place in his life.

    I again read the title and find the words in Eugene’s letter – ‘humble yourself before God’. I am reminded of a saying that my father would use with us “it’s time for you to be cut down to size” – this usually preceded a punishment that was somehow very public (in my small mind for I was most sure the world knew all about it). I stop for a moment – I am no longer a little girl and humbling myself before God does not look anything like what I have just remembered about my past. This is not about punishment so much as it is about seeking God’s mercy and stepping into the light, into truth. Today I will try to step into the light.

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