In our previous reflection, Eugene had written to the formation superior about Brother Saluzzo who was wavering in his vocation. Now Eugene writes directly to the young man:

… you told me you were happy when I visited Billens. All of a sudden your attitude changes and the reasons that you allege are so pitiful that no man of good sense would have entertained them for a moment. However, what was in question was nothing less than the renunciation of your vocation… Now you persist in your infidelity. The judgment that Our Lord pronounced in advance on those who look back, after putting their hand to the plough, does not put you out of countenance, even though the reasons you bring forward are more or less of the same stamp as those that did not save the young man of the Gospel from our Saviour’s anathema. It is a very great misfortune, but it is not in our power to prevent it; we will deplore your loss, but we will be guiltless in that respect before God after we have done all that is in our power to deter you from a resolution evidently inspired by the enemy of your salvation.
So I consent to your leaving Billens, to your separating yourself from those angels whose very company was a safeguard for your feeble virtue. You will come first to N.-D. du Laus to place yourself until further orders under the mantle of our Good Mother. It is my last effort to save you. Go there with an upright heart, call fervently upon this powerful protector, ask her to enlighten the director I appoint for you in this holy place and to give you the simplicity and docility you need in this situation, decisive as it is for your life.

To Brother Saluzzo, 8 December 1831, EO VIII n 411

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I begin this morning thinking of how Jesus felt in the garden, during his arrest and trial and ultimately his feeling abandoned as he died. I think of Peter’s denial, three times he denied knowing and being with Jesus and Jesus would have known this pain also. The pain Peter’s words inflicted upon Jesus.

    I look at myself and the many times I have sinned and at the times I have known the same hurt as Eugene and the community who surrounded Br. Saluzzo. I look at things that have hurt me, so why would some of the things I do or say hurt others? It is like a light has been turned on and rather than seeing just my own hurts and wounds I see those who are here and their suffering for they too have been hurt – by me. I did not have to go out and commit mass murders, it was in the small and the ordinary that my words and actions that cut and severed. God forgive me – a plea rather than a request to feel better.

    I think of Eugene’s response to seeing Jesus on the Cross that Good Friday and his awareness of his failings. Never before have I been able to understand why he spoke and wrote as he did. Grief. Not a place to sit in which to sit comfortably and I am grateful for the small grace of courage which God endowed me with so that I could not run away from myself.

    Today in a small way I am like Saluzzo, in a new place, seeing with new eyes – a second call. Eugene’s words have been a gift. I do not think that Saluzzo found them to be a gift, but I must.

    Eugene’s words remain before me – they are suddenly so much more than exaggerated expressions or pious sayings. I am rueful and feel a little shaky and fragile as I begin, and I am grateful to receive this second call.

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