I have been a priest for 21 years. I cannot presume that there is as much time left me to live as I have spent in the priesthood. I must look and see what the grace communicated me by the imposition of hands has yielded. The cooperation I have brought to it, the duration of the blessed consolations of the Holy Spirit, the cause of my infidelities and their baneful effects.
Eugene recalls and prays about his life as a priest because as a bishop he will receive the fullness of this priesthood which will build on the foundations of his 21 years of priesthood.
What beautiful years were those first years of my holy ministry.
He recalls the major steps of his life. The first was when Napoleon had expelled the seminary faculty, and the newly-ordained Eugene had become one of those to fill in for them.
One year spent in the seminary as a priest, charged with inspiring in the others love for the clerical virtues and called to cooperate with holy collaborators to conserve and maintain the good traditions of our former Directors, the Emerys, Duclaux, Garniers, Montagnes, expelled from their house, that we had to keep going in their absence.
Them the excitement of his first years of priestly ministry in Aix:
What beautiful years were those first two years I spent in Aix in the exercise of a ministry that was all charity, living within my house, with the help of my servant the good Trappist Brother Maur, in recollection, prayer and study; every moment I stole from external ministry, and the attention I gave to the youth and prisoners.
Catching typhus from the Austrian prisoners of war:
If I had died then, the very death I had asked God to grant me from the time I became a priest, every day at the elevation of the chalice, I would have died a martyr of charity, and I would not have to reproach myself with so many faults, infidelities, I would not have to weep over this state of lukewarmness into which I have been thrown by the innumerable occupations with which I have been overburdened, whether in the ministry of the holy missions, the foundation and direction of our Congregation, or in the administration of the diocese of Marseilles, in such difficult times and in the midst of such opposition.
I have achieved a lot, it is true, overcome big obstacles, conquered insurmountable difficulties, good and very much good came of it.
Retreat journal before being consecrated bishop, 7-14 October 1832, EO XV n 166
An invitation for us to look back on our lives and give thanks – despite the difficulties.