Eugene’s episcopate is not an “in name only” thing for him – he takes it very seriously. His heart continues to grow in love of the poor – and the different faces of the poor also grows.
“I am thinking of going to spend two days with you as I am on my way to the Durance Valley where I am going to administer the sacrament of confirmation… They have not seen a bishop in those parts for fifteen to twenty years; could one refuse the faithful the service they have a right to? I know that I am not strictly obliged to perform this act of charity but it seems to me that there is a kind of solidarity in the episcopate..” (July 17, 1834 – 482: VIII in Oblate Writings)
Writing this letter Eugene continues to struggle with an ailment that does not allow him to preach as he would like, so he does whatever else he can. In the case of the people in the Diocese of Avignon he will go to administer Confirmation because the Archbishop there is confined to his rooms.
To be unable to preach for him – well I cannot imagine it. I wonder what I would do, how I would react if God were to take back the gift of writing and sharing who I am? It would be so very hard. I would most likely not give up, but it would be a sorrow and a huge letting go on my part. Attitude.
I am beginning to see how the whole Icosia Affaire has slowly changed Eugene. He continues to find new ways to serve and love others, in this case an Archdiocese of people who have not had access to their Archbishop for more than 15 years. Eugene’s love for the people has not changed except perhaps to expand and grow. It is not about it ‘not being his job’ but rather his helping out others where he sees that a need exists. And there is almost a new gentleness about him – the fires are still there by they seem to be tempered with love and mercy – in direct correlation to what he has suffered himself. He has continued to find new ways to serve the Church and God.