Parish missions had the ability to rouse up enthusiasm while they were taking place, and afterwards there was a tendency to lose fervor gradually. This touches into everyone’s experience of entering into new challenges with enthusiasm and the necessity to consciously keep the momentum going when the novelty wears off.

This is why the Missionaries insisted on giving a thorough series of instructions so as to maintain a solid ongoing foundation when the emotions had calmed down.

Knowing human nature, Eugene stressed the necessity of continually starting the spiritual journey all over again thru the use of the sacraments. He wrote ot the pastor of Brignoles:

As to the calculations you make about the number of Easter Communions, we must remember that reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance does not give perfection any more than justification in baptism does. We cannot avoid groaning with bitterness when we consider the instability of resolutions and the extreme misery of human weakness.
Alas! Fortunately for us! Our Lord knew the sad condition of our corrupt nature; that’s why, in instituting the sacrament of Penance in such a way that it may be worthily received several times by the same person, he has reassured in advance the priest who administers it according to the rules, and at the same time has held back the poor sinner from the despair to which he might have given in without this provident mercy.
Your comment, therefore, gives me no scruples, and I continue to believe that even what did not last was still real and not just apparent, as you think.

Letter to the Pastor of Brignoles, 23 August 1821, EO XIII n. 39


“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”       Marie Curie

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I had to smile at Eugene’s comment about the same person being able to receive the Sacrament of Penance, not just once but several times. As a small girl in elementary school I was lined up every week by the nuns and then marched over to the church to go to confession. From my standpoint as a child it was all pretty much a lark. It was not until I became an adult that I understood or wanted to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    Good for Eugene in his letter to the pastor of Brignoles. In some ways it is so much easier to give into the negative and to just look to see what is on the surface. I think of God in my life and how there did not seem to be alot of ‘instantaneous’ changes in my life. In truth, God had to keep coming after me because I was running as far and as fast as I could away from God. And even after my conversion, again and again God had to be the initiator.

    Oh those human weaknesses that Eugene speaks of. Not just me but a heck of a lot of people seemed to be filled with them. I know that I am certainly full of them for they seem to arise out of nowhere and hit me right in the face. And my God loves me just as I am with all those weaknesses and the brokenness that I bring with me. So I persevere (sometimes more easily than others) and I start my day with renewed prayer, consciously starting over again. Its all grace that I guess we just need to grab onto. It is liberating somehow, and allows me to depend on someone other than myself. It allows me to be lifted up, which is a pretty good way to start this day.

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