This text is almost autobiographical because it describes Eugene’s own journey before and after his conversion. The vocabulary he uses is the same as that of his own conversion as he describes his Good Friday experience: his realisation that God alone can satisfy his heart.
Having invited his listeners to look at themselves through the eyes of Jesus the Saviour, he now asks them to reflect on the purpose of their lives and the things that God did NOT create them for, so as to commit themselves to their true destiny. Here Eugene is leading others to share his very own experience:
Your Creator did not place you on the earth to amass riches since as St. Bernard says this sort of wealth weighs heavy on those who possess it, wounds those who love it, torments those who lose it: possessa onerant, amata vulnerant, ammisa cruciant.
Nor for honours, glory or reputation, as they bring with them a lot of troubles and anxieties which are accorded especially to those who least merit them.
Nor for the pleasure of the senses which give rise to so much bitterness and are made more for the beasts than for rational human beings.
Nor even for knowledge since we see that the devils, despite the superiority of their knowledge, are nonetheless wretchedly damned.
God alone was worthy of your soul. God alone could satisfy your heart. And you, in constant flight from your only good, prostituted this heart, which he gave you for loving him, to avarice, love of pleasures; you ran in pursuit of passing creatures which all in their own way diverted you from your end by promising you the happiness that it is useless to search for outside God. The experience of your cruel errors in this matter taught you nothing and you did not become any the more percipient.
Notes for the first instruction in the Church of the Madeleine
O.W. XV n. 114