In a letter to Bishop Arbaud of Gap Eugene finds it necessary to once again to defend the Oblates and Fr. Guibert at Notre Dame de Laus.
“I had hoped that further reflection would soften the extensive rigor of your thinking, and that you would not insist on cruelly grieving priests who pride themselves on having some claim to your affection and to whom you have not denied your high regard. God is my witness that in my relationships with you, I have done all that depended on me to avoid a collision. I had to place many things at the foot of the cross, for I have scarcely been spared. Will it be said that two Bishops do not agree when it is a matter of the Church’s interests, the honor of the priesthood and the rights of justice and fairness?” (February 20, 1833 letter to Bishop Arbaud, – 81: XIII in Oblate Writings)
This particular bishop seems to have had it in for Eugene for a matter of years. I find myself wondering what he was so afraid of – why did he try so very hard to pull down all that Eugene was building? Eugene was a Bishop like him and yet like wind and water on a shore cliff Bishop Arbaud seem determined to chip away and erode all that had been built. I am reminded a little of the Pharisees and scribes with Jesus – for they too were afraid – so much so that it coloured their thoughts and actions – they were cloaked in holiness and yet there was a certain amount of decay in their very centers.
I look at myself – it is so easy for me to cloak the bad in something that appears to be good and holy but which is not. Unfortunately without prolonged and determined prayer and discernment I am unable to catch it and nip it in the bud. Eugene rather than trying to better it laid all of it at the foot of the cross. Perhaps I need this reminder so that I can follow suit.