Having reminded himself of the cardinal points of his spiritual practices, Eugene revises his daily timetable.

To this end, there is absolutely no time to waste, and what is left over after the day’s business must be well used.
I will never come near it unless I vanish for a few hours during the day. 
Rise at 5 o’clock or 4 1/2.
Oraison [ed. meditation] finishes at 6; from 6 to 10 I must become invisible…

The hours in which he wished to “become invisible” were moments that he wished to dedicate to activities without people, but for people. For his preaching and teaching ministry he found it essential to study Scripture and theology each day. It was a practice he remained faithful to in Aix as mission preacher and teacher of the youth congregation and then in Marseille as bishop. Similarly he needed to set aside a specific time to write and for letters:

Thus read, Holy Scripture until 7 o’clock, theology until 8, correspondence or write until 10…
Sundays, all for the [youth] congregation. If there is a moment, reading of Holy Scripture.

Retreat Notes, August 1817, O.W. XV n. 144

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    This is just too perfect! It calls me to commitment and faithfulness and taking time for what is truly one of the most important times of my day.

    Eugene needed and took special time to be with God, to study and to prepare for his day. I must be honest and say that I can remember a time not all that long ago that I would perhaps have (secretly) scoffed at some of what he had written. After all – you what – you pray and then you go about your daily life, your work and you just “do” it. Eleanor’s prescription (old) for life. Eugene, once again, you got it right and so set the example. I doubt that I can put it into words yet, but that/that time away from people, you (and I find I) needed that time to be with God – in a different way from Oraison, for one does not replace the other. For me the time to write, to go where God takes me, usually in respone to some stimulus such as these writings, which then become, at least for me, conversations. Although I do not spend near as much time as you, they seem to set the stage so-to-speak on how I shall spend my day. This allows me the incredible freedom to start my day in joy and gratitude in a way that is subtly different from meditation, for its more like a living reflection. A time of discovery in who I am, in who we are, in God, in each other, in all of creation. A time to freely express the sorrow and joy as each new day begins. A time to let my spirit run free and dance in the life of a new day.

    All else flows from this time. And so I am grateful, for although it is not the writing for today but for a year ago it is incredibly timely, this gentle reminder to my commitment, to my promise. Lord you do give me all that I need. And so I start today in gratitude and joy and with a small quiet song of joy as we go out yet again, together.

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