Eugene aims to convince his listeners to go to confession, understanding that the more they put it off, the more difficult it will be. I have chosen these two extracts because they give something of a feel for the images Eugene used in his sermons from the everyday experience of his listeners.
For myself I know that the more you delay, the less hope you will have of making a sincere return to God. Difficulties will keep on cropping up and you will die in your sins.
Imagine a poor man who is on the way to market and loses his purse; as soon as he finds out he becomes sad, loses his appetite, is inconsolable, he would give his life’s blood to find it again. This loss seems irremediable. He is wrong: time lessens it each day, slowly he recovers his good spirits; it gradually vanishes from his mind…
… Christians, I ask you in all honesty, has not that been the sad tale of our own experience? Perhaps you have reached that point of hardness when God’s word sounds in vain in your ears because of the obstinacy with which you bar it entry to your heart. You are perhaps like those swallows which take refuge in a bell-tower but at the first dong of the bell come flying out in all directions, but recovering then from their first fright gradually come back to the tower, eventually go back in, and become accustomed to the noise which had bothered them at first, they set up there again their home, and even build their nests there.
… I think, brothers, I have given you more than enough reasons to make up your minds and stop saying no to a precept whose violation would lead to your eternal damnation.
Instruction at the Madeleine on the fourth Sunday of Lent