Eugene would have liked to have dedicated the rest of his life to serving only the Oblates, but this was not God’s plan for him.
How often I have counted the blessings I would enjoy eventually in the solitude of one of our houses, should the Lord have called my uncle to himself before my own death! …And now here today all this future happiness vanishes. I must submit to this yoke that I have done everything to avoid. The will of God is manifested in a way that cannot be mistaken. And I find myself in a position of not being able to refuse. No one would want to pay heed to the purely personal considerations I would like to be heard.
He now lists five reasons why it is important that he obey God’s will as shown in his nomination as Bishop of Marseilles:
The conservation of the Diocese of Marseilles assured after so many and such violent attacks to eliminate it from the list of dioceses.
The involvement of my venerable uncle, bound by a solid initiative jeopardised inspired in his beautiful soul by considerations of heroic perfection, and confident of my obedience which he has every right to require of me.
The interests of all the diocesan foundations, a large number of which have only just been launched, and responsibility for which falls on us.
The good of our Congregation to which it is so important to have a Bishop of the Church of France as protector and anchor.
Finally the unanimous wish of all who are entitled to my trust.
It took nothing less than all these powerful reasons to bring about my consent that I have given as if by necessity, with resignation, without hiding from myself the enormity of the responsibility, but also with the will, genuinely sincere I think, to fulfil it as well as I possibly can.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 9 April 1837, EO XVIII
We can learn from this example of discernment. When faced with a decision it is very helpful process to be able to write down all the reasons for and against.