We have seen how heavily the events of the previous four years had weighed on Eugene: death of loved ones, serious personal illness with a slow recuperation, the July 1830 Revolution and the attitudes and actions of an anti-religious government at national and local level. Once back in Marseilles, Eugene was Vicar General of the 84 year-old Bishop Fortuné of the large and expanding diocese. At the same time, he was Superior General of the Oblates. Father Courtès must have reprimanded him for not having done something for the Oblates, to which Eugene replied:

…You must not conclude from my silence that I am not getting on with the matter that you are concerned with, but when one has a string of meetings often going on for three hours at a time and all the subsequent business that arises, when one has to organize, negotiate, reply, carry out, conciliate so many different interests, to say nothing of ordinary administration which is necessarily very complex with our dense population, etc., one really has no time left to breathe, much less to write ….

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 3 February 1832, EO VIII n 414

What always emerges throughout all Eugene’s writings is that no matter how busy he was, he never lost sight of his fundamental option to live only for God and to do everything for God and in God. It was his spirit of oblation that made it possible for him to give himself fully to whatever God’s work asked of him.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “…he never lost sight of his fundamental option to live only for God and to do everything for God and in God.” Each time I read “fundamental option” my mind sees and understands this a little differently, looking at what it means in my own life, my own self. It is the word option that I tend sometimes to forget – there is a choice. I think of Eugene and his Good Friday experience of Jesus on the Cross – “when his eyes met mine” – where his focus was to remain for the rest of his life. Oblation.

    I am reminded of something that happened at the end of Mass last weekend. I was rushing to speak to a friend who had been looking for me for a week, she wanted to talk for a moment and so I headed for her. At the same time another person was quite literally trying to stop me to ask some questions. I asked this 2nd person to give me a couple of minutes and I would find her but when I finished she had gone. I wonder if she thought I was ignoring her or that the other was more important than her. Perhaps she has more patience than me and will try to catch me next weekend. I will email her today, just to check that all is okay.

    I think of how I try to give myself to God – actually it is to others but it is in and through God – because on my own I am not sure that I would be present with love to others – at not least in the way I am now. Like Eugene I have tasted the sweetness of God’s love, his eyes have met mine and I am held fast within them. I need only to respond.

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