In reviewing the course of his spiritual journey, Eugene becomes aware of an important area of growth that has happened in his life. Whereas in the previous retreats he had concentrated on his sinfulness and an almost morbid preoccupation with his weaknesses and failures, now he has a different outlook. Awarte that his faults and sins will persist, he is now able to say, “I am not bothered by all that” because he understands more fully that it is God’s love that keeps him going.

I notice first that in the midst of my extreme distress – for I am seeing myself as I really am, namely, absolutely deprived of any virtue, having only the desire for it and the will to work to get it – I note, not without surprise, that I am not bothered by all that. I have a great trust in God’s goodness. “For you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety”: Ps. 4, and I have a kind of hopeful assurance, that he will grant me the grace to improve, for one thing is sure, I am not worth much right now. And the examen, of which I will leave some written extracts for my instruction, will convince me of this each time I come upon this paper.

Retreat Notes, July-August 1816, O.W. XV n 139


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  1. John Mouck says:

    Eugene is a saint and he felt that way!

    If you read my mind, you would think, ‘Wow, Eugene stole that thought from John.’ lol
    I have so many defects of character that I seem incapable of correcting. I finally had to give up my futile attempts at controlling my life and hand it over to God with the realization that He created me, imperfections and all. At times I may not much like myself but I guess He always does. All I can do is hope and pray that I see what HE wants me to do and that I have the courage to carry that out.

    I too have taken a personal inventory of my life and written it out. It took a long time with many re-writes to make sure I was being honest and taking ownership and not blaming everyone and everything else. It was not a pretty sight. I am not proud. I re-read, re-write, and make additions frequently. Oddly enough, that keeps me from dwelling on the past and hoping for the future.

    I certainly will never travel in that Circle of Saints, but at least I now have hope, hope that one day I will reside with Jesus and Mary, the saints, and all the people they call “friend”.

    Thanks for writing that Eugene.
    Thanks for posting that Frank.


  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I have spent much of my life dwelling on how unworthy and bad I am. And I mistakenly translated this to mean “how great is the sin that I am”. From this I tried to blame it on another, any other. But now change is growing within me.

    And even though I have said that we must “trust in God’s goodness”, there is a truth in those words as they rise up from a secret place deep within me; a truth in my hopes and desires which are becoming a reality. I am human and I sin; but God still and will forever love me to the nth degree just as he has done from before the beginning of time when he created me and breathed life into me. All the while knowing that he would have to love me into wholeness. Which he does, atom by atom, molecule by molecule.

    I am filled with God’s own love and while yes I struggle it no longer overwhelms me; it fills me and completes me. That thought of ‘being complete’ which only God’s love can bring me to. Drenched and drowning in love, and still being able to breathe. Richard Rohr writes of “breathing under water” – perhaps this is what it looks like.

    Like Eugene I write this – so that I might finally and truly realise truth. This space which has been denied to me is no longer dark. Like a young chick the egg shell has been broken open and pushed aside and I begin to open my wings as I try to fly. Oh the freedom of being that is only realized in love.

    Look Lord, I cry as I turn towards you who is my Beloved; look at how you have created me. I see your smile and your eyes behold me in delight. You continue to complete me and I take my place in being a part of your completeness. Your smile drenches me in love and light and I join in with the others in becoming a part of life in you.

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