The last group whom Eugene speaks to is that of the beggars who have no other choice to gain their daily bread. Eugene’s idea of addressing each group was inspired by a sermon of Bossuet, a famous French preacher. Bossuet addresses the people who are well off to get them to open their eyes to the injustices they are part of. Eugene, on the other hand, feels with the poor and it is to them that he wishes to offer the transformation of self-esteem that only God can bring. If the poor remain caught in the world’s vision of themselves, they are doomed to remain its slaves. A conversion to a new vision is what Eugene is aiming at: “you are more precious in the eyes of God than all earth’s riches”.
And what about you poor beggars, obliged by man’s injustice or the harshness of fate to go cap in hand for your pitiful sustenance, to beg brazenly the bread you need for staying alive. The world sees you as the refuse of society, to be kept out of its sight and avoided so as not to be pained by your plight that they have no wish to relieve.
That is what the world thinks. That is what you are in its eyes! But all the same that is the master you have chosen, the one you have so far grovelled to. What reward can you expect? Insult and contempt, that is the reward it sets aside for you; you will never have any other from that source.
Notes for the first instruction in the Church of the Madeleine
O.W. XV n. 114