Having read about the importance for Eugene of his practice of oraison yesterday, today I go back to a text on the same topic, written while he was a seminarian. It was Eugene’s first Christmas away from home since he had returned to France. It is Christmas morning and he speaks of the Midnight Mass in which he had lived communion (“oraison”) with his mother – she in Aix and he in Paris:
… Dearest Mother, do you really think that I was not beside you last night? … Indeed yes, darling mother, we spent the night together at the foot of the altar, which for me represented the crib in Bethlehem; together we offered our gifts to our Saviour and asked him to come to birth in our hearts and strengthen us in all that is weak, etc. You know my heart all too well, since it was formed from your own, so you will have a very clear understanding that it is as active and goes through the same feelings as your own….
Let us often look for one another in the heart of our loveable Master, but above all share often in his loving Body; it is the best way to bring us together, for, as we each of us find our common identity in J.C., we become but one thing with him, and through him and in him we become one thing with one another.
Last night my thought was you would have wanted to honour the coming of this blessed Child, born for us, by laying him down in your heart. As I had the same happiness at practically the same time, I united myself to you with all my soul. Do you not wonder at the greatness of our soul? How many things it takes in at the same time! What an immense extent it covers in a flash! It is ravishing. I was adoring J.C. in my heart, I adored him in yours, I adored him on the altar and in the crib, I adored him in the heights of heaven…
Letter to his mother, 25 December 1808, O.W. XIV n. 37