April 27, 1835 St. Eugene de Mazenod wrote to Bishop Frezza, Secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Affairs in Rome informing him of the stop of Cholera in Marseilles as well as to reflect on his being Bishop of Icosia.
“Provided God be exalted, what does it matter if one remains humiliated, overlooked, abandoned by nearly everyone? I pray that in the eyes of men I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated. Ever since I came into the world, God has led me by the hand; he has had me accomplish so many things for his glory, that I had reason to fear pride if men had perceived them and shown gratitude towards me; it is better for me that they be unjust and ungrateful; in this way God will be my sole reward, as he is already my sole strength, my only hope..” (177:XV in Oblate Writings)
It is this last sentence that I pause to reflect on – how Eugene looked back from the Icosia Affair even while still being in the middle of it. I do not usually see the goodness of what I have gone through until it is over and I have let it go. I think of a friend’s statement how he was glad he was in jail – how he is grateful for that. I think of how I am grateful in a way for all of the abuse and violence and death of self that I was subjected to as a child for I had to look to God for love, hope and life. I am grateful for being an alcoholic and drug addict, a lay woman in the church for look at the compassion this has given me for others who might also be without self-esteem, knowledge, or support. In all that painful and seemingly without love or goodness I can’t help but recognize how much God means to me, how it is all for God and from God. I have been given so very much – can I ever express the depth of my gratitude and love of God? Yes I have been humiliated, laughed at and hated. But still my God whispers Beloved in my ear and that is more than enough.