In France it is the custom to send greetings to everyone for the new year (unlike the custom of sending Christmas wishes in some other parts of the world). Eugene responds here to the new year greetings of Father Courtès. He had been a member of Eugene’s youth congregation in Aix and one of the first novices to join the Missionaries in 1817 – ths having a special place in the Founder’s heart

It was with delight, my dear Courtès, that I read the letter you sent me for the New Year. I truly needed to hear from yourself the sentiments that you express to me so well and which correspond with those that I have always had for you.

Love imprints its character in my soul, it is indestructible. It is the final answer to all.

Letter to Father Hippolyte Courtés, 4 January 1843, EO X n 785

Eugene’s whole life was motivated by love as the final answer to all: love of God and love of others.

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  1. Mark Edwards OMI says:

    What an appropriate and beautiful reflection on the memorial of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. The love of these three siblings for the Lord and each other is an expression of all that I long for – for myself, my family, my religious family and the diocese in which I work. One welcomed the Lord into her house, another sat at his feet and, at another time, anointed them with oil and the third was restored to life by Love itself.

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “Love imprints its character in my soul, it is indestructible. It is the final answer to all.” The words spoken by Eugene who was known to have a heart as big as the world.

    I think of Jesus who preached love, who lived love to the nth degree, and how he died for love; for all from both the beginning of time and on past time’s end.

    I am reminded of the image of a small stone, or even a drop of water into a larger body of water and the tiny ripple that begins around it, and which spreads out wider and wider, as it grows and matures.

    Here Eugene responds to one he loves, saying how he needed to hear from Courtès – a spirit of reciprocity and I am reminded strongly of the image imprinted on my heart of Jesus in the centre, his heart a burning flame which goes out to his disciples around him. And rather than diminishing it only grows stronger; back and forth and outward to those touched by God’s love as it reaches Eugene and then on to his sons and daughters, even as I become a witness to the love imprinted within me and how I share that with those I meet and touch.

    I find myself singing the refrain from “How Great Thou Art” in joy and triumph and never ending gratitude.

    It began with God and continues on, the alpha and the omega. More than mere words as I try to express the foundation and the framework from which we try to live out our lives. Truly the “final answer to all”.

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