Continuing the review of his life during his retreat, Eugene realized that he was tempted to get lost in work and think that all was okay. He needed to keep the spirit of his oblation in mind in his activities:
So, far from believing that I am doing too much just because there are some who criticize and label things falsely, calling “excessive zeal” that which is no more than the simple fulfilment of a duty, I will acknowledge I fall short of my obligations and will do more if I can.
The pivot was the quality of his “being” in order to effect the quality if his “doing.”
But I must not forget that to work effectively for others’ salvation, I must apply myself very seriously to my own perfection, and I must take care not to dissipate myself while consecrating myself to the service of my neighbour. I will make it an irrevocable rule of conduct that nothing on this earth shall constitute a habitual threat to my own progress in the spiritual life.
Retreat Notes, August 1817, O.W. XV n. 144
Eugene’s “spiritual life” in no way excluded others – it existed so that others could have life through his ministry.