Eugene’s spirituality was always focused on Jesus the Savior – a vision that he worked at reproducing in his daily life. Using the image of a painter, he wrote when he was a seminarian:
To make myself like Jesus Crucified
It is like the painter who copies a model.
He places the model in the best light,
studies him carefully,
concentrates on him,
tries to engrave his image in his spirit,
then he traces some lines on the paper, which he compares with the original ,
then he makes corrections until he is satisfied that it conforms with the original, then he continues…
Unpublished exercise book, in the Archives of the OMI General House, Rome
Eugene is not aiming at transforming himself into an exact photographic reproduction of Jesus the Savior. That is unrealistic and impossible. Like an artist, Eugene’s spirituality consists in focusing intensely on the model, and then allowing that model to express himself through the vision of the artist’s experience and understanding of the human person and of the world in which he lives. Different artists like icon painters or Michelangelo or Picasso or sculptors or poets or actors or movie makers study the same model, but produce a personalized view. From each of them we learn and are enriched.
As we explore Mazenodian spirituality, I would like to use this image to reflect on how Eugene was a spiritual artist, and how he reflected his model, Jesus Crucified.
What is your image or model for your own spiritual expression and growth?
“The specific Christian spirituality, then, is one that is centered on the experience of God as savior through Jesus… In every situation, our instinct is to ‘look to Jesus’ (Heb 12:2). From beginning to end, the form of spirituality is the imitation of Christ.” Luke Timothy Johnson,