Eugene concludes that loving people, despite rejection, is what is expected of God’s servants.
Each one according to the measure received must, after having exhausted his affections and efforts, say in all simplicity: We are useless servants; we did what we were supposed to do [Luke 17:10]. I had always thought this with regard to God and what one does in His service, but I needed further reflection to apply this feeling to people, or at least to include in it what one does for them beyond the strict duty of Christian charity.
He then thanks God for the gift he has been given of feeling compassion for people who are suffering, and of wanting to respond with generosity.
That is where I was mistaken. If I feel people’s pain more than others do, if my heart is touched at the sole thought of their misfortunes, when they come to mind, if I feel real distress, sometimes even deep pain upon simply hearing of a catastrophe that will bring desolation to a family unknown to me, as for example the death of a mother which leaves the children abandoned, or the death of a son, or a daughter whose early loss will break the heart of a mother, I could not deny that this is evidence of a rather rare kindheartedness. It is a pure gift from God.
Having vented, Eugene now calms down and recognizes that all that he does must be for love of God and people – not for rewards.
This exquisite feeling is a consequence of who I am, a condition of the existence that God gave me by making me what I am and the way I am. Why should I want anyone to take notice of them in me? That would be too natural a reward for a free gift of the Lord, because no matter how troublesome this uncommon ability, whenever I find another person who has it to this high degree, I congratulate myself on having it and I feel truly happy even during the painful moments it brings me. So, let me renounce any reward or any human recognition. To count on it would simply be preparing grief for myself. I will spare myself that sorrow by sacrificing it in advance.
Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 31 March 1839, EO XX