In yesterday’s reflection on how to grow closer to Jesus Crucified, Eugene gave this method:
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Unpublished exercise book, in the Archives of the OMI General House, Rome
All the actions of the “artist” are the actions that Eugene was to use for the rest of his life in his spiritual journey. He would place the model where he could best be seen, study him, concentrate on him and engrave his image in his spirit. How? He drew up his daily program beginning in the morning:
Once fully dressed I will proceed to my prayer space and stay there for the holy activity of meditation which I will begin with vocal prayer…
In the conviction that the only way one can sanctify himself is by prayer, every day I will spend at least an hour at this holy exercise.
If by chance it happens that I cannot get it all done in in the morning, I will faithfully make it up during the day…
I will not neglect to say the rosary every day, but will make use for this purpose of the time spent in the streets going from one place to another, beginning in the morning when I return from Church after Mass.
…On my return home I will read Holy Scripture for half-an-hour.
Rule of life for his return to Aix, 1812, EO XV n 107
Twenty five years later, he shows that this basic program was still an integral part of his life when he was appointed Bishop of Marseille (cf. EO XV n 186) The only difference being that he now spent one hour a day reading the Bible – as a source of nourishment for his personal life and for his ministry.
If we want to give Jesus Christ a central position in our spirituality, we too, each according to her or his circumstances, need to make some time each day for personal prayer and for Scripture reading. It is not the length of time that matters, but getting into the habit each day of being an “artist” who focuses on Jesus the Savior , “studying him carefully, concentrating on him, trying to engrave his image in our spirit.”
“Spirituality is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.” M. Robert Mulholland