July 1835 found Eugene travelling – having had to leave Marseilles because of the government’s ongoing campaign against him. His letter of July 13/14 to Fr. Tempier, written while at Notre Dame de l’Osier highlights the ongoing difficulties he is having to bear because he is the Bishop of Icosia.
“My wish would be to be forgotten by the world as I have for my part forgotten it. But it seems that the spirit of hell doesn’t consent to give me respite. […]. The culprits it seems are in great dread of me, completely inoffensive though I am.
I don’t get too upset at everything the culprits are staging against me; I would sometimes be tempted to shield myself even from the tiresomeness of having to know what they are plotting against me, taking no more part in human affairs. [..] But as always I leave my opinion to another’s judgment and remain passive.” (522:VIII in Oblate Writings)
I find it hard to credit the ongoing campaign of hatred against him. One would think that the government of the time would get over it and give it a rest. It seems to me that a whole lot of energy and time was spent in trying to find something wrong with Bishop Eugene de Mazenod – all because the Church went ahead and made him a Bishop without the express approval and request of the king.
But even as I write this I look at my own life and some that I struggle with. There is not a campaign of hatred against me but there are a few that seem to carry a grudge that I fail to understand. And I must ask myself how I ‘carry grudges’ from time to time. I would like to say that I never do that, however that would be an exaggeration. But for the most part I prefer to let go of my grudges and unforgiveness – they require too much energy – of the sort that drains and deadens. I think of the my own woundedness, of the old wounds that can separate me from love and from others – they actually block love and forgiveness so cannot open a door to healing and love. I look at Eugene de Mazenod and at my self and it seems as if hatred has a will of it’s own to live on and flourish, to hurt and destroy rather than to seek and give life in the light.
Unlike Eugene I do care about myself, and of other’s opinions of me. I don’t think that anyone who knows me would ever say that “as always I leave my opinion to another’s judgment and remain passive” – about anything. But I do try to start each day with love, with a new start, having let go of the hurts and ills from the day before. To say that I succeed perfectly would just be wrong, but for the most part – well it’s just easier to let go of the ills, to forgive and to keep trying at being who I am called to be. What more can anyone do?