Every year Eugene spent some time on retreat, away from his busy schedule, aiming at refocusing his priorities. One example from his writings speaks today as we are invited to refocus on our priorities and the direction of our lives.
The year 1817 had been a seesaw of events and emotions. The successful ministry of parish missions in the villages, the ministry of the community in Aix itself, and the ministry with the Youth Congregation was counterbalanced by the destructive criticism and difficulties caused by of some of the city pastors and their followers. Eugene carried the burden of all this .
While all this was happening Eugene took a time of retreat to get things into perspective. With all the busy-ness and the storms he needed to get his bearings on the map of his life so as to ensure that he was still moving in the direction that God wanted for him.
If I want to achieve some good, I must see myself as one sent by God on earth to do there all the good it is in my power to do during the time allotted me, and then death will summon me to him who sent me and who will judge me severely on my works. Woe is me if I am found not to have fulfilled my task!
With this thought in mind, I must make haste and get to work, having always God alone in view, and disdaining any notice of human contradictions which, far from discouraging me, should on the contrary stimulate me all the more to pursue my path, since these contradictions were foretold and are the hall-mark of God’s works.
Retreat Notes, August 1817, O.W. XV n. 144
The focal point was always oblation – living “all for God.” He needed to constantly come back to that compass point so as to keep things in perspective. It was the “home address” on his GPS. What is yours today?