Continuing our reflection in the Diary entry of Easter Sunday 1839, we see Eugene meditating on the difficult lesson he had to learn when he naively believed that because he loved people and treated them in a loving way they would love him in return. Initially some in the city of Marseilles taught him this lesson.
There would be some interesting things to say on this topic! But I would deviate from the thought that led to this digression. I wanted to say that I went to extremes in the love I showed my fellow man from my earliest youth. I had especially been excessive in supposing that I deserved a similar attitude from those for whom I wanted to do so much good, and to whom my heart was ready to dispense still greater love in return for the love they were willing to give me. In spite of what my misguided reason might urge me to believe, this right to people’s love belongs only to God. Whatever my reason may allege for expecting men’s gratitude, it is mistaken.
People may do wrong by being ungrateful, unjust, and not responding to the good done them, or desired for them, but I should not complain about this. The same rule which applies to external actions and services must also apply to the feelings and dispositions of the heart.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 31 March 1839, EO XX