Writing to his confidant, Father Tempier, Eugene described his spiritual state after his episcopal consecration.
The Holy Spirit, the object of so many saintly people’s prayers, made his appearance on the great day, and I assure you that not a day has passed since then, and I could even say an hour, that he has not imparted indescribable spiritual experiences to that person whom he deigned to choose and sanctify.
I did not count in vain on his powerful help for my whole retreat was made in a spirit of trust. I feel renewed and am in a spiritual state that I cannot put into words.
He had always had an awe-filled respect for the status of bishops as the successors of the apostles, and now he finds himself as one.
All my life I had been filled with respect for the episcopate, I had always considered it in a great spirit of faith; it was, so to speak, an instinctive reflex of my soul. If I had not held myself back, I would many times have been carried away and fallen prostrate at the feet of some good bishop, as one does before the Pope. I wanted everyone to think as I did and to render noble acts of homage to these successors of the apostles. I was ready to let them walk right over me so as to exalt them the more, and now the Lord raises me myself to the summit of this greatness and what is more, now he is making me understand that I still fell short in my estimate of this plenitude of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Conscious of his personal weakness and sinfulness, the gift of the Holy Spirit gives him confidence to fulfil his responsibilities.
This profound conviction of my soul sits very well with the feeling of my own lowliness, personal poverty and unworthiness; but none the less I am sure that, through God’s mercy, I have completely changed. I have a clearer knowledge of my duties and I think I have obtained, with the Holy Spirit, the resolve to discharge them faithfully.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 20 October 1832, EO VIII n 437