Eugene’s letter of August 31st to Henri Tempier is short but telling:
“.. It was necessary in effect to take pause after my Wednesday morning session. I lie low, I need to think, to have light, I ask God to grant me enlightenment, my need all the greater in that men’s plans seemingly pit themselves against the inspirations of the Holy Spirit …” (Letter to Father Tempier, at Marseilles – 459:VIII in Oblate Writings)
Eugene is not ‘striking out’ at those in the French government who have levelled accusations of his being a “Carlist” and having held meetings for such in the Bishop’s Palace in Marseille. It looks like Rome has called him in haste from France in order to try and protect him. Now Eugene wants to have space and to look at everything clearly. He looks to God for guidance, for light.
It is how he approaches and responds that touches me the most. This will be a tremendously huge trial in Eugene’s life and yet his response to the unjust accusations and travesty of justice is to withdraw into the quiet and to find ‘the light’, to ask God for enlightenment. I suspect that I would not be as calm for there would be within me a desire to ‘strike back’, one that I would need great grace to stifle and push aside so as to not act upon it. Eugene’s trial will not be lessened but his way of dealing and coping with it may be what allows him to walk more closely with God throughout his ordeal.
This is the martyrdom that Eugene has spoken of – to give his life for God. He is being called to ‘let go’ of part of his life as he knows it. He seems to be pulling back and going deeper within himself, looking to God for a response. What has this looked like in my life? Have there been times when I have been asked to let go of something that was very much a part of me? Did I react and strike out or did I respond and look to God?