On October 7th 1832,Eugene began a 7 day retreat in preparation of his being confirmed a Bishop.  In his notes (see 166:XV in Oblate Writings) he looks back on his time as a priest and then quotes from scripture, 1 Timothy 1:12-17 in Latin which I have quoted in part here in English.

“I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.  I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man but I have been mercifully treated […] Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  Of these I am the foremost.  […]  To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen”.

I am captured and I find myself going over and over these lines.  This one small piece from scripture – it matters not who wrote it, when or where – it matters only that these words could be from my own lips.  I become quite undone and my heart fills with tears at the truth of it.  I take no pleasure in admitting this about myself any more than I imagine Eugene did, but this simple truth brings with it a freedom.  That freedom, and the utterance of the words give me joy, for in saying them they become my meager offering to God.  At this moment this is all that I have to offer.  That God should hold me up, forgiven and dressed in a gown of simple truth – there is no arrogance here but only a small humble joy.

I come, bowed over – not in misery but in gratitude for the tender mercies of my God.  God has given me much to be grateful for.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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