WHAT I CAN’T BEAR IS HAVING IN MY HANDS THE FATE OF SOMEONE DEVOTED TO ME, HAVING IT IN MY POWER TO MAKE HIM HAPPY OR UNHAPPY

Two weeks later, Eugene continues to oppose the suggestion that his servant be fired because it would cause that man sorrow and misfortune.

I don’t, strictly speaking, need this man’s services, nor anybody else’s. What I can’t bear is having in my hands the fate of someone devoted to me, having it in my power to make him happy or unhappy, and giving my consent to his being plunged into misfortune. Were it question of someone else altogether in the same position regarding myself, I would say the same thing, for I would experience the same scruples.
God made me that way; and I say that God made me that way with good reason, for if you went back over my whole life, you’d find I don’t know how many times when I had precisely the same feelings I’m experiencing now. When nine years old I almost choked in my grief just at getting the news of the death of my nurse’s daughter, for the sole reason that this sorrow would sadden my nurse. You must note that the persons concerned were not there with me; I was at Turin and they were at Aix. I repeat. should this man’s happiness be assured, I give way without any problem.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 17 October 1835, EO VIII n 550

Three years later, Eugene had to eventually give in and dismissed him in January 1839. In his journal he wrote:

 Departure of my servant Pascal Testamire. This time I have let him go for good, sorry though I am for him. His dreadful character shocked everyone and has asked too much of me during these three years.

Even Eugene’s soft heart had to recognize the limits of realism.

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to WHAT I CAN’T BEAR IS HAVING IN MY HANDS THE FATE OF SOMEONE DEVOTED TO ME, HAVING IT IN MY POWER TO MAKE HIM HAPPY OR UNHAPPY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Here is a man, Eugene, who loves so greatly (some might say too much); his love is intense and I use that word in the sense that it is strong and perhaps seemingly overwhelming. And Eugene is sure that this is a gift because God made him this way, because he has loved in this way since he was a child. I find myself thinking how Eugene allows his heart to grow; untamed and with the wild beauty of a horse that has not yet been ‘broken’. The word gauche comes to mind in that he loved in a way that was almost unsophisticated.

    Eugene reminds me of a parent who has to let go of their son or daughter in order for them to fully grow as human beings.

    I do not know the story of Pascal Testamire, but I know my own; how as a practicing alcoholic and drug addict I would try to make another(s) the focus of my love and world. It was done in a manipulative and smothering way. There were those who did eventually recognized the limits of realism (which I saw as being abandonment).

    Eugene found all that he had been looking for outside of God was only to be discovered in and with and through God; it was when I heard Jesus say my name and tell me of his love that I could begin to learn how to act like a human being, then and still a Christian while hopefully being on the way to becoming a saint. But I had first of all to lose everything (let go of all that I was holding tightly within myself) in order to be able to see and recognize God.

    Just as Jesus did on the cross, Eugene again models with his own life how we might live.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *