Eugene is in Rome for his Episcopal Consecration, but appears to be more pensive than celebratory.
“I am deprived all at once of your gentle presence, far removed from all I love, alone in a city where I have nothing to see and, I may say, nothing to do, left to my own sad thoughts, weary of delays, even more bored with all the fussy details I wouldn’t even want to think about; that’s my position […] I am quite apathetic about that event […] I see it only as a thing of grandeur, severe, wrapped in silence, offering me [nothing] at least in my present mood but food for contemplation and profound wonder..” (Letter To Father Tempier, at Marseilles, September 21, 1832: 431:VIII in Oblate Writings)
Eugene seems to be walking through Rome, his eyes fixed on the pavements of where he walks rather than on the grandeur and glitter of the city, surprisingly unaware of the pomp and circumstance surrounding that to which he has been called.
History has already shown us the the struggle of this period of his life, a period that could be called a personal Lent where he can do nothing else it would seem but to look to God for any comfort or solace.
When have I experienced feeling like Eugene – headed in a direction that one would expect to bring joy and celebration but seems actually to be dark and alone? When have I had to let go of my attachment to being fed and cossetted, applauded and noticed? Have I looked at the road I am travelling down and asked God for my reason for being where I am? How have I ‘gotten through’ those periods of my life where there seems to be no outward support, no comfort being afforded me in a world suddenly gone grey and ordinary?
I find this morning to be an invitation to look towards God. What is my food for thought as I begin my celebration of Lent?