In the midst of being persecuted by the political authorities, Eugene remains optimistic because of his faith in God. He reflects to his friend and confidant, Fr Tempier:

So you have the advantage of enjoying the pleasure of surprise when, contrary to your expectation, things go better than you thought they would. It makes up for the distress felt by one who has gloomy moods like that. People who see the world through rose-coloured spectacles escape that distress but by the same token they have a less-lively sense of the well-being they take for granted; on the other hand if a person like that suffers a let-down, although he would not escape scot-free, he is not floored by the falling of the blow in question, from which my conclusion would definitely be that a tendency to optimism rather than to gloom best assures peace and tranquillity of soul.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 17 October 1833, EO VIII n 468

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I ask myself what it is that keeps me going when I am in a difficult place; from what source do I draw my strength? What is it that feeds perseverance; that causes me to ‘act and be’ with fidelity to something greater than myself?

    Jesus. Optimistic is not the usual word that I use to describe Jesus, or it’s opposite – pessimistic. Jesus faced – confronted the truth of his situation and stood in hope and trust – in confidence that the Father loved him. No magic wand-waving, but rather perfect trust in the promise made to Abraham and to all down through the ages. I am surprised as my thoughts drift to the scriptures; I have never really studied them and yet they seem to be such a part of my base. I marvel at the place they hold within me.

    It is Eugene’s faith in God that fills him with hope and trust. I think of his temperament, of the many interior struggles that he faced in his life and how he was able to walk through those struggles and their accompanying pain; with courage and hope, trusting in God’s love. Since first I met Eugene he has reminded me of St. Paul.

    I see in the invitation to hope and trust the joining of the human and the divine. Unfathomable and yet true – a oneness, a wholeness. I am not able to explain or describe it, nor can I say that I understand it – but I recognize it in the invitation to accept and sit in the light which promises peace and tranquility to our soul.

    How awesome it is to be able look and find God in the middle of our fears and struggles! “How indeed did our Lord Jesus Christ proceed…?” I come here each morning and am reminded of how Eugene proceeded and his invitation to optimism – to hope and trust in my own daily life.

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