I skip ahead today because of where I am at in my own life. Looking at May 23, 1835 I found Eugene writing a short letter to Father Casimir Aubert at Aix. As you will recall Father Aubert was the first priest that Bishop Eugene de Mazenod would ordain as a priest and as well he was founder of the Oblate Anglo-Irish Province and Secretary General of the Congregation.
“My dear Child, far from hoping for some rest, each day I see fresh difficulties come up that put my patience and dedication to tests. I make bold to say, that are more than flesh and blood can bear. Bad priests think to wear my courage down after taking advantage of my goodwill. They would succeed in their objective if I didn’t constantly tell myself that men, with perhaps one slight exception, aren’t worth the trouble one takes to help them.” (515:VIII in Oblate Writings)
There is within me a part that can relate to what Eugene is sharing with this very special son of his. There is within myself images of those who I sometimes really struggle with – and yet for all of that I cannot deny that I feel compelled to love them and that I do indeed love them – no matter they be priests, lay persons, members of the Church, people in the workplace, in the community, or members of my family.
I do not stop loving them when they are not as I would like them to be or when their attitudes are radically different from mine. No I do not stop loving them but it can at times seem as if sometimes God is putting me to the test.
And what did Father Casimir do for and with St. Eugene? Perhaps he just listened and loved. I think at this moment of a dear friend of mine who is tired and a little worn out and perhaps down. I listen and I pray for he is someone that I love dearly – a dear friend – at least for me he is a dear friend and even if I be nothing more than a blip on the path of his journey through life. That can at times be how it is. This is what it is to love. For those we care for and those who would try our patience.