On the eve of engaging myself in a great commitment for the rest of my days, I enter into myself…

Thus begins Eugene’s journal for the day prayer in preparation for the oblation for life he was to make as a religious with vows.

As he enters into self-evaluation he touches on the constant theme of his retreats during these past years: his lack of focus as a result of being over-extended in his commitments and activities.

On the eve of engaging myself in a great commitment for the rest of my days, I enter into myself to humble myself before God for the small progress I have made in the ways of perfection, bitterly to lament the difficulty I am experiencing in getting out of the habitual state of being lukewarm that I have fallen into since my duty has obliged me to focus my attention on others and I have been almost entirely forgetful of myself.

Day’s Retreat, during th community retreat, 30 October 1818,
EO XV n. 148

He finds himself lukewarm in the light of the fiery ideals expressed at the previous highpoints of his life – always linked with the grace to want to be totally centered on God.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Our retreats are always privileged times of being in and with our Beloved. Always our Beloved is in and with us and it is us who are unable to clearly focus on God in the business of the day-to-day. Often I forget all of that when I struggle with entering into the presence of God in my daily prayer. While I feel bereft of that perfect presence that I long for, it is in the most ordinary of each day I manage (more likely God gives to me than any personal management) to actually be in the light of the extraordinary.

    Most mornings when I head out I recognize many of the faces that fill the buses that will take me to my destination – some I nod to but mostly I sit with my thoughts as I try to faithfully recite my rosary. But on the second bus that I find myself racing to connect with I am accompanied by a very young mother who is running to catch the bus as she pushes her baby in the stroller – a part of her daily ritual. We both usually ‘just make it’ – through the mall and up two stories, crossing a bridge as we see our connecting bus arriving. She is headed to a special school for young women who are single mothers and I go a little farther on to where I have been given a space to study in.

    My ritual of the rosary has been interrupted as I move to push up the seat across from me so that her carriage will have space, and then to watching her settle the carriage, grab her phone and sit in front of her little beloved. Once seated though, she puts the phone away and spends the next 10 minutes joyfully playing with her daughter and singing to her. Their two faces express the most beautiful love as they centre on each other.

    Yesterday I crossed the aisle to thank her for the gift of being able to witness her joy and love of her daughter. After she got off of the bus I returned to my rosary even though I was immersed still in the power of her love. When I told her how beautiful it was to witness her love she looked surprised but pleased – after all this was just her ordinary way of being.

    Eugene was so busy doing what he had been called to do that he did not always see himself as being totally centered on God – but as I read and reflect I see most readily how even though it looked different he too was totally centered on God, on giving himself in all the ways that he could –totally to God.

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