In his retreat in Amiens before his priestly ordination he had given his “Here I am” to God. recalling that event, he now expresses his desire to deepen this oblation that urges him to work at improving himself.
In my Amiens retreat, going deeper into God’s way of dealing with me, I came to the conclusion that he was expecting great things of me; and being already convinced that I was a very great sinner, I could do no other than empty myself in his presence, profoundly abase myself, and then say: Ecce adsum [ed. “Here I am”], counting myself only too happy that the good Master wanted in this way to furnish me with the means of discounting a little my great sins.
Retreat Notes, July-August 1816, O.W. XV n 139
For a man very familiar with Scripture, the “ecce adsum” of Eugene would have recalled for him the “yes” of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, that of Mary at the annunciation, and the call of Samuel to follow God’s vocation for him.