Eugene spent one semester on the faculty of the seminary and then returned to Aix to begin his priestly ministry. Shortly after this he spent time doing a retreat so as to focus himself in his ministry. His focus was clearly on the Savior:

I will take as model of this worship that I owe God, his adorable Son Jesus Christ our lovable Savior, for whom I will try to have the most sensitive of devotions and the most ardent love, having in my mind and even more so in my heart the memory of his generosity.

Each day he needed to consciously work at staying in communion with his Savior

And recognizing too that I am as incapable as I am unworthy of loving him, I will ask him this grace every day at Mass and one hundred times each day with this spontaneous prayer: My Jesus, give me your love. Ah! The battle will be won if I have this devotion to J.C., one that should be predominantly that of a priest…

All this, not as a self-centered devotion, but with a missionary intention:

My chief occupation will be to love him, my chief concern to make him loved. To this I will bend all my efforts, time, strength, and when after much work I have succeeded in winning from someone just a single act of love towards so good a Master, I will rightly consider myself very well rewarded.

Rule drawn up on my retreat in Aix, December 1812, EO XV n 109

“We cannot judge our prayer…by how we feel when we pray, but rather by how we are loving when we live.”   Katherine Marie Dyckman

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles that I have had to face in the past few months as I entered into this sacred space each morning has been to not ‘turn myself off’ when I saw any words about how all of this was in the light of Eugene being a priest. I found myself tempted to focus on that in a very negative way (as in the way that this was the only way such a life in God could be brought about). There was a tendency/temptation to fixate on one word that was rising up out of my own woundedness which could turn me around and shut down my very soul.

    The problem was not in how Frank wrote or in how Eugene shared his being, but rather in my own tortured reception of the word, my own walls of fear and lack of openness to something different that was not always defined and mapped out. For a brief second I think of Mary’s acceptance to the angel. She too asked a question – how can this be? But she moved forward saying ‘let it be done unto me according to your word’. It is for this grace that I have asked God to give me.

    And when I read “The battle will be won if I have this devotion to J.C., one that should be predominantly that of a priest…” I found my being responding with a little skip and a jump of ‘yes’, ‘exactly’ and this followed by immense gratitude at the awareness that God was far from testing me but rather looking for ways that I would be able to relate and move forward. Yesterday Pope Francis said that God is in love with our smallness and it would seem this is so.

    To what end is all of this? Both Frank and Eugene continue on. It is not for a self-centered devotion. ‘all that I am, all that I do, all that I’ll ever be’ – all that I can do is love God, give myself over to God. Out of that I will touch others, perhaps only just one person. If who I am touches just one person so that they turn their eyes towards our/my crucified savior then that will be enough.

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