Continuing his journal reflection on the anniversary of Nathalie’s death, Eugene reflects on his grief.

But we who loved you so tenderly, we who looked forward to years of happiness in the sweet flowering of our common affection, how can we be consoled at your loss? This feeling is just as alive and as bitter as it was on that heart-rending day when you were taken from us. Faith, faith alone, and the hope of meeting you once again in the bosom of God can sweeten our sorrow.
Oh my God, how weak I am! Why is my heart still so worldly? Should it feel anything other than the purest joy when it thinks of the triumph of a soul which is so dear to it? Not so! Nature is there to make us feel the full weight of its oppressive might, piercing sensitive hearts so deeply with its sharp sword. Indeed there would be good reason to reprimand myself for being like this, or at least to regret it, if our loving Saviour Jesus had not previously sanctified our tears and approved of our sorrow when he wept at the death of Lazarus whom he was nevertheless to raise from the dead.

Diary, 14 November 1838, EO XIX

This is one of my favorite texts of Eugene (one of many!). Here I am drawn by the beauty of his personality because he was not afraid of expressing his feelings. He was a sensitive man of the heart. One Good Friday he had shed tears because of the tenderness of the love of his Savior whose outstretched arms showed a heart broken on the Cross for him. Many times in his prayer he had shed tears, overwhelmed by the Savior’s undying love for him.

Humanly, whenever someone close to him died he could not contain his grief and heartbreak, despite being a man of deep faith.

It was okay to weep – because Jesus had also wept at the death of the close friend whom he loved.


“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.”   Washington Irving

This entry was posted in WRITINGS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    My first ‘experience’ of Jesus on the Cross was many years ago and yet I remember it as if it was only yesterday. Sitting on the back steps of a cabin facing out into the forest and not far from me was a crucifix on a tree. I sat there crying over the suffering I had endured and feeling so very alone with all of it. I looked up and it was as if Jesus was crying with me as he hung on the cross. A moment of brilliance outside of time, I was not alone. Something within my heart burst open wide and I experienced immense tenderness and consolation, as if my heart was being held. Looking back I see how I fell deeply in love with the cross (which meant Jesus on the cross – not just the cross in itself). I never told anyone about that for the longest time – partly because there was an intimacy there but also I was afraid that I would be laughed at – ridiculed.

    This morning though there are tears of joy and gratitude as I remember the beginning of my love affair with Jesus on the Cross. I look back at my fear of tears and smile quietly. I cry often enough – when I experience deep sadness or when I witness immense beauty. They come when my heart is caressed and being held, moments outside of time when there is a oneness with my Beloved.

    One of the things that I have always loved about Eugene was how deeply he felt and how he shared that always. There is a tenderness about it and I am reminded of the tenderness that I experienced that day at the back of the cabin with Jesus on the cross. One of the things about Eugene that I most love was that he was ‘real’, human, someone that I can relate to. He was a ‘sensitive man of the heart’ and that’s a good thing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *