Towards the end of his retreat the future bishop, Eugene, wrote of his state of spirit to Fr. Tempier, his companion, spiritual director and admonitor.
He debates with himself whether it would be a distraction to write this letter during his retreat, instead of praying:
My dear friend, I continued to be undecided for some time whether I ought to allow myself to interrupt my retreat to write to you. I have come down on the side of doing so by applying the method I use which you are familiar with, that it is good to mortify oneself but better still not to impose sacrifices or privations on others that they have not asked you for. I know with what anxiety you must be waiting for my news; it would be cruel to leave you in that state. So I believe I am making the right decision in spending some free moments of my retreat to converse with you.
Because their relationship was based on their mutual self-giving to God and to their joint mission as disciples, everything that they shared was in this light.
Besides, what we have to say to one another could not be a distraction. It is not that I wish to enter into the details of my spiritual exercises, we are too far apart and there is too little space in a letter to broach such a topic.
It is enough for you to know that God in his goodness is helping me as usual…
Letter to Henri Tempier, 10 October 1832, EO VIII n 436
What a gift this level of friendship is! Eugene had written ten years earlier:
First companion of mine, you have from the first day we came together grasped the spirit which must animate us and which we must communicate to others; you have not deviated in the slightest from the path we resolved to follow; everyone knows this in the Society and they count on you as they count on myself.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 August 1822, EO VI n 86
That close relationship focused on God lasted for 45 years until Eugene’s death. What a blessing!