On 31 October, Eugene responded to the letter of support from his community in Aix.
It is full of Biblical quotations, which gives an indication of how steeped in Scripture Eugene was, and that his daily practice of reading and studying Scripture permeated his thinking.
Well do I recognize you, dear and good brothers of mine, from the letter you wrote me on the 23rd. Very well! I shall be worthy of you. It is God for whom we suffer; we shall not let ourselves be disheartened: “Therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed” [ed. 2 Tim 1:12]
The demon would triumph were we to fail since souls redeemed by our Lord would be abandoned. So let us continue to strive like good soldiers of Jesus Christ: “Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” [2 Tim 2:3].
What does it matter after all if some individuals may have revolted against us? Saint Paul the Apostle was treated worse than us for not only was he abandoned by Demas, but he met an Alexander who did him much evil and all those who were in Asia went away and left him: “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me… Alexander… did me great harm; the Lord will requite him for his deeds… All who are in Asia turned away from me” [2 Tim. 4, 10, 14; 1, 15] And when he had to defend his case before the Emperor, no one stood by him; they all abandoned him: “At my first defence no one took my part; all deserted me.” [2 Tim. 4, 16] Nonetheless he did not lose courage and with the powerful help of God he accomplished his allotted mission and was delivered from the jaws of the lion “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the message fully, that the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth” [2 Tim. 4, 17]. It would indeed be foolish for anyone to desire to do good but not experience opposition: “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” [2 Tim. 3, 12]
Saint Paul was subjected to it everywhere but nevertheless was helped through it by the Lord. Let us be firm in our confidence that it will be the same for us: “my persecutions, my sufferings, what befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, what persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me” [2 Tim. 3, 11]
Letter to Henri Tempier and Emmanuel Maunier, 31 October 1817, O.W. VI n.28
The cancellation of the Concordat also meant that the arrival of the Archbishop in Aix was delayed for another two years. When the Archbishop eventually took up residence in Aix, in 1819, the relationship with Eugene and the Missionaries was cordial and he appreciated the work they were doing in his diocese. In the future we will have occasion to follow up on this relationship, which did cross some stormy patches as well.