IT SEEMS THAT THE SPIRIT OF HELL DOESN’T CONSENT TO GIVE ME RELIEF

As a result of the government’s pressure, Eugene had resigned all his responsibilities in Marseilles and had left the city to live in the Oblate community of l’Osier.

… My wish would be to be forgotten by the world as I have for my part forgotten it. But it seems that the spirit of hell doesn’t consent to give me relief. Absent though I am, it is pursuing me with its calumnies and continues to persecute me with all the fury of its sworn hatred

Beaudoin explains this: “A group of ill-disposed priests at odds with their Bishop, amongst them Jonjon, Bicheron and Martin-Lazare, were contributing articles to the revolutionary press against Bishop Fortuné and especially against the Bishop of Icosia. They alleged that the Pope had forbidden the latter to exercise any episcopal function in the diocese.”

It could really go to my head. The culprits it seems are in great dread of me, completely inoffensive though I am. But no, it isn’t pride I feel, but a real embarrassment at not having carried out my duty in full, putting up for too long with men who are so ungrateful today, through my misplaced trust in their false promises to turn over a new leaf.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 13&14 July 1835, EO VIII n 522

Reading this experience of Eugene, one cannot help but recall situations that we have experienced where we have been negatively judged for having done the correct thing.

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One Response to IT SEEMS THAT THE SPIRIT OF HELL DOESN’T CONSENT TO GIVE ME RELIEF

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I find myself thinking of Jesus who allowed himself to become the scapegoat for the Pharisees and the Sadducees all the way to the cross and death; who spoke to the two thieves on either side of him as he hung on the cross and who cried to the Father to forgive them for they did not know what they were doing.

    Jesus did not victimize himself – he did not ‘throw himself under the bus’ nor did he revel in being the victim. Eugene also did not ask to become the victim, but he did endure it. He was obedient to God and to the Church in not fighting it in the courts and he continued to love in the midst of the pain he was experiencing.

    This morning’s invitation to look at ourselves and recall situations where we ourselves have experienced negative judgement has led me to acknowledge – yes the times that I have been on the receiving end of negative judgement and seeming loss of dignity and personhood from others – but also the times I have treated others in that way, because of a lack of understanding, a lack of love. In big ways and little ways.

    I think of Eugene whose model was Jesus and it seems to me that if I can remember to look at others and myself through the eyes of our crucified Saviour, I – we will all be much better off as human beings.

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