YOU MUSTN’T BE SURPRISED THAT I AM HESITANT WHEN CONSCIENCE, HONOR AND THE PEACE OF MY WHOLE LIFE ARE AT STAKE

Apart from all the reasons stated above which Eugene gave for not cooperating with the wishes of the government, he kept on insisting that he wanted to spend the remaining years of his life in the restful peace of an Oblate community. Henri Tempier, usually introverted and deferential reveals his own frustration and his own personal desires which he has always subdued for the sake of Eugene.

I think this is the last time that I shall speak to you about all this, for I am sick and tired of it. I can tell you that if a rest is so pleasing to you, I also call and desire a rest at least as much as you. Why is it that I have to be here and let my blood run dry for twelve years, forever harnessed to the cart, in most difficult situations!

Providence has always arranged things in such a way that, whatever be the crisis we have had to undergo, no matter what its nature, I have ended up all alone to taste its sweetness. All the difficult moments that I have had to experience in diocesan business and for you especially in countless instances, have worn me out, have wearied me to the point that business annoys me to no end: I am fed up with it.

Why shouldn’t I enjoy a bit of rest? It seems to me that I would be asking for only what is justly due to me.

Letter of Henri Tempier to Eugene de Mazenod, 23 August 1835, EO2 Tempier n 83

Eugene’s reaction:

Your last two letters are too harsh; you mustn’t be surprised that I am hesitant when conscience, honour and the peace of my whole life are at stake.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 25 August 1836, EO VIII n 538

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One Response to YOU MUSTN’T BE SURPRISED THAT I AM HESITANT WHEN CONSCIENCE, HONOR AND THE PEACE OF MY WHOLE LIFE ARE AT STAKE

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Dear Henri Tempier – his load has been heavy. I suspect his frustration will be short-lived before he goes about finding a way to continue to shake Eugene into accepting the hands that he has been offered to help pull himself out of the pit he seems to have continued to dig for himself even after others stop trying to bury him further. And I suspect that Henri Tempier is not only worried about his own being, but that of their community, their family; Eugene is their Founder – in spite of his tendency to focus on what he is going through and his reluctance to let go of what he feels a desire to hold on to. This is about being a part of the community life.

    I focus on the words of his response to Henri Tempier: “…I am hesitant when… the peace of my whole life is at stake.” I wonder if the peace Eugene is referring to will come not so much from the outside but rather will arise from within himself; the peace that he is seeking will be like that which he wanted so many years ago and which he explained how he had looked for happiness outside of God. Here is simply another example of Eugene’s humanness.

    This speaks to me about the power and the strength of community – not just in Eugene’s life but in my own. It speaks to me of God’s love for each of us – when the love of others is like a mirror image of what God’s love looks like. We are not perfect, I am not perfect – and yet still we are loved and still those who love us walk with us no matter how hard we might try to push them away.

    This is about a love so much greater than that which we might try to find on our own.

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