August 23 1835 found yet another letter from Eugene to Fr. Tempier, in which he expresses his wishes not to write to the King and the Minister and how he will not accept being named as coadjutor bishop or titular bishop.

“My dear friend, what have you done? What is this abyss you wish to hurl me into? I have reached harbour, and do you want to expose my frail craft once again to tempest and reef, which it would be impossible for me to avoid? No, no, no! I’ve learnt by experience. I am not up to achieving any good in that elevated position in this day and age. (536:VIII in Oblate Writings Letter To Father Tempier, at Marseille )

Eugene sounds tired of it all, ready to retire in peace and solitude.  If he were alive today I think that I might give him a hug – for never was he in his life one to lie down and simply rest on his laurels.  This was a man who added “perseverance” to his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

This has opened the door to me looking at a few times in my own life where I wanted to say no to what I was being asked to do or even told to do.  There was a part of me that wanted to give-up and walk away from whatever the struggle was that I was standing in.  I imagine that most people have experienced times like that at least once in their lives.

I look back on some of those times in my life – I didn’t really want to give up or to quit.  I did not want to turn away from, well from God.  My life, my very being is nothing without God.  And there you have the baldest of truths.  No – no matter my grumbling or tears, my whining or pleading I do not want to turn away or run from God.  Besides God promised he would never let me go, that I was/I am His beloved.  And that is everything and enough – and that is perhaps the greatest of truths.

And I guess this is what I have found here.  So really I have everything that I want.  That hug that I would give Eugene – well I think that here in this space where I am free to cry, laugh or to simply ‘be’ is a bit like receiving a hug from God.  For even now I feel better than when I first came and began to reflect.


I did not expect this.  I am grateful.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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