Two weeks earlier Eugene had written about his non-stop activity as Vicar General of Marseilles. He did not enjoy the work, and it was “one of the most painful of penances” – yet it had to be done, and he saw it as being done for God. It was all a passing shadow in the sustaining light of God.
I give it no further thought as, thanks be to God, without being a St. Francis de Sales or a St. Teresa, there is little that I desire, and the little I desire I desire but little. It is not only in recent days that the world’s show has seemed but a passing shadow to me; I live in habitual awareness that I have only a limited number of days to live, and obliged as I am to work from dawn to dusk, I do it only as a duty, like a man who has been given one of the most painful of penances by the Master to whom all obedience is due.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 18 February 1832, EO VIII n 415