However, one must proceed, it is what God is imposing on me, let me be brave and count on his grace. For that above all it is necessary to work seriously at becoming a saint. This new phase of my life must be a time of complete renewal…
He recalls the moments in his life when he had experienced God’s closeness in a particular way
Now or never is the time for me to carry myself back to the times when I was so fruitful in good thoughts, generous sentiments, to go back to my consecration, my priestly ordination. Then there were holy inspirations, even some lights to understand them, a certain fidelity to correspond to them, but how short it was!
Instability! Temptation! Dissipation! Weakness! Work, contradictions, disgust, a certain disapproval of the human race have almost destroyed the zeal I burned with once upon a time. I really need to reinvigorate my soul. God provides me with the opportunity since he imposes on me a weighty duty that I will be able to fulfil properly only by following in the footsteps of the saints. It is already a signal grace to understand this much; now I must correspond with it and obtain the rest.
Retreat preparatory to taking possession of the episcopal see of Marseilles, May 1837, EO XV n 185y
An echo of the life and missionary program he had set for himself and his missionary family in the Preface of 1818: “We must lead people to think rationally, then as Christians, then help them to become saints.”