Continuing with the letter of November 10th 1835 from Eugene to Fr. Casimir Aubert:
“When I hear what you say about the workings of grace in yourself. I am filled with an almost tangible joy; that is how God in his goodness deals with his children when they display goodwill! The profound impressions that your soul thus receives are not given merely for your progress in these days of fervour when the dew of heaven falls in a tangible way for your consolation and encouragement, but also for times of trial and darkness, should the Lord condemn you to them, as he sometimes does even those he loves much. Then the memory of intimate communications of grace is a sustaining force: one lives, so to speak, on these provisions.” (551:VIII in Oblate Writings)
Eugene has returned to Marseilles and the Icosia Affair seems to be coming to an end – there is, as we say, a light at the end of the tunnel. His words to Casimir speak of a love that surpasses hardships, such as the pain and struggle that Eugene himself endured for more than 2 years. It was that time of great darkness and trial that he writes of.
And this love – this is a love that fills us so that once we become shipwrecked we still have it within us to sustain us through wild storms of what can only seem like total abandonment and aloneness, storms that seem to batter us down to the ground, break us apart and wash us gently upon a foreign shore. Love that is at the core of our being.
I was recently at a wedding of two dear friends. To witness their love and joy, to be able to share in their commitment brought joy to my heart, and it reminded me of the commitment that I made to God and to all of the Oblates. I too feel married – to God and to all of the earth. I am a bride of the earth, the world, taking part in the life of all creation. Seeking and yearning for a fulfillment that will come only with the new life that follows death. One with God and all of creation.
Just like the life of my friends who got married, and the life that Eugene experienced and spoke to Aubert about, my life too has been a mixture of darkness and pain and unspeakable joy. The cross and the resurrection. For me this morning I ponder it all and find myself filled with gratitude.
This is the day the lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad.