Eugene’s own conversion experience had been the awareness of God’s boundless love and mercy:

Blessed, a thousand times blessed, that he, this good Father, notwithstanding my unworthiness, lavished on me all the richness of his mercy

Retreat Journal, December 1814, O.W. XV n.130

 He describes how he experienced the closeness of God’s love once he had acknowledged his sinfulness:

you forgot all my acts of ingratitude to help me as powerfully as if I had been always faithful to you; my tender father, who carried this rebel on your shoulders, warmed him against your heart, washed his wounds, etc.

Notes made during the retreat in preparation for priestly ordination
1-21 December , O.W. XIV n. 95

He is describing the experience of being “hugged” by God

Now, the Missionary – the “co-operator of the Savior” – has to treat the sinner in exactly the same manner as he has been treated:

For the rest, let the missionaries always be ready to welcome sinners with inexhaustible charity. Let them encourage the penitents by their pleasant manner, and by showing a compassionate heart.
In a word, let them treat them as they themselves would wish to be treated if they were in the same unfortunate condition.

1818 Rule Part 1, Chapter 3, §2 Regarding Confession

“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”              Frederick Buechner

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  1. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    The follow up and follow through to the “Golden Rule” is a gift that Eugene passes on to his family. That call to be compassionate and forgiving as we have been forgiven is powerful. As a director and confessor these are before me always and I believe that it is because of my own life experience (from the heights to the depth) that allow me to reach out, invite and care. Your image of being “hugged” and enveloped in God’s Loving Kindness (Chesed-Hebrew) is healing and affirming of my personhood which is radically one in the Divine Dance of the Trinity.

    • Anda says:

      “… allow me to reach out, invite and care…”
      I know many, many who would attest that you do – and blessed are those who will have you next!

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Hug as you are hugged. I love it! I have heard it expressed as love as you are loved, certainly forgive as you have been forgiven. But the hug brings it all close and so very real and day-to-day. We are physical human beings, and touch can do so much, convey so much, give so much. Touching, physcial touching is so important to us. To feel that we have been hugged – that is one of the greatest gifts we can receive.

    Now compassion – that’s a different story. That’s carrying it to the next step in an entirely different realm. Amazing isn’t it, that with our pains, big and small, we carry them, give them God, or not and bear them. Sometimes stoicly, and other times with almost gratitude and most certainly with a sense of hope. But to carry another’s pain – the “niceness” rubs off really quickly on that one. And if God’s hugs are warm and fuzzy and incredibly tender and comforting, then compassion, that reconizing and carrying of someone else’s pain and sorrow, is often stark and jagged. Compassion – that sharing or carrying with someone their pain can be heart breaking. Compassion changes the equation entirely. Does our compassion then somehow become a hug to them?

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