The sermons at the Madeleine were Lenten in character to prepare his listeners for Easter resurrection. After the first sermon where Eugene had laid the foundation of their dignity in the eyes of God’s love, his themes for the following Sundays were: Lent and fasting, the truths necessary for salvation, sin, and confession. In the latter, after giving a teaching on confession in which he twice speaks of it as a God-given “raft to save us from shipwreck” he continues:
But no, dear brothers, we have fallen away so dreadfully from the state of our Fathers, and from the tenderest age so multiplied our sins that it would be impossible for us to recall their number, and what would have become of us if the Lord, foreseeing our shipwreck had not left us a raft to save ourselves and get us out of the abyss of our iniquity. In a word, who in our day would have been saved if our divine Master had not established in his Church the sacrament of penance?
Then comes the goal of the whole sermon – the invitation to encounter the Saviour in the sacrament:
So be converted, come back to God, and to that end take the only means that the Lord has left you. Take this first step, the only one you will find difficult, come to us. Come and show your wounds to the only doctors whom God has established to cure them; as you know, the lepers in the Gospel were ordered to go and present themselves to the priests, and the Lord who had heard their prayer wished to heal them only through the ministry of those to whom he had given the power on earth. It is the same for us, it is the Lord who heals, for it belongs only to God to work this miracle; but he heals through his ministers, and he heals as God, for note that one word suffices for this resurrection, as he needed but one word to create the Universe.
Instruction at the Madeleine on the fourth Sunday of Lent