Eugene finds himself ill because of overwork and hyperactivity. Now, in this time of prayer, he reflects on his lifestyle and his attitudes. The countless demands of the mission will continue, but they have to be transformed into moments of encounter with God. In this text we can recognize Eugene’s awareness of the invitation of Matthew 25: “Whatever you do to one of the least of these, you do it to me.”
I must above all be really convinced that I am doing God’s will when I give myself to the service of my neighbour, immerse myself in the external business of our house, etc., and then do my best without worrying if, in doing work of this kind, I am unable to do other things which I would perhaps find more to my taste and seem more directly adapted to my own sanctification.
If, for example, at some time when I am attracted to contemplate the mercies of J.C. in his sacrament, someone comes for confession, I must leave Our Lord. without complaint and regret to fulfil this duty of charity imposed by his will.
Or again, if, tired out body and soul, I want to seek some rest in a good book or in prayer, etc., and the business of the house obliges me to go on some boring errand or make some tedious visits, persuaded that preference must always be given to what God requires over what one would oneself desire, etc., I will not hesitate, and I will do it with such good grace that, supposing I had the choice, I would prefer what the service that God has confided to me requires to what I would have a greater personal liking for.
Better again, I will try to arrive at a loving preference for what is conformed to the will of the Master, which alone must rule not only my actions, but even my affections.
If I reach that point, the battle is won. But I am a long way from it as of now, through insufficient reflection and yielding too much to my natural ardour which makes me impatient of a task or, if you like, of an interruption that detains me, when I have something else to do that I regard sometimes as more important, and this happens 50 times a day.
Retreat Notes, July-August 1816, O.W. XV n 139
This same conviction is found in the writings of Saint Vincent de Paul as well, and it is not surprising because the formation Eugene received at the Sulpician seminary in Paris, was influenced by the vision of St Vincent.