In early May of 1833 Eugene wrote to Father Courtès about making some pastoral visitations in part of the diocese of Marseilles. He faces it with his usual blunt self-awareness and honesty – knowing it is not all about him.
“…I know my duty, it only remains for me to accomplish it as I ought. If resolve were all that were needed, I would have no doubts about it, but it is something that has to be earned, for what greater grace can a man have than that of doing his duty well. It needs prayers...” (May 4, 1833 letter to Father Courtès, at Aix – 445:VIII in Oblate Writings
Here we have Eugene again putting God at the center of it all. He knows what he is called to do, what he must do. Most of all he knows the only way that he will be able to do it – not on his own but rather through the grace of God. He must “be in order to do”.
I am reminded a bit of what I learned in AA about will-power and determination. All the will-power and determination in the world could not have stopped me from drinking or drugging. Indeed it took God and God’s graces and love and my letting go of all else. “My letting go of all else.” That was and still is my starting place.
And then doing it – what I know I must, or even what I have been told that I must do – without trying to ‘pretty’ it up, or dress it so that it is hidden behind images of glamour, power or importance. There is a tiny sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach for there is something that I know I must do, that scares me silly – for it will mean letting go of something else. “It needs prayers…”