Continuing with the notes of St. Eugene de Mazenod’s 1837 retreat as mentioned in “Living in the Spirit’s Fire” by Al Hubenig:
Such beautiful dreams, however, have vanished. Here I am, in very fact, a pastor – indeed, the foremost pastor of a diocese which, regardless of what they say, is not peopled solely by saints. It has been given to me, I did not choose it.
Now, I shall have to become attached to those people as a father to his children. My existence, my life, my whole being, must be consecrated to them. May I have no thought but for their welfare, no fear but that of not doing enough for their happiness and sanctification, no solicitude but that of embracing all their spiritual interests, and even in a certain way, their temporal well being. In a word, I will have to spend myself completely for them; for them I must be prepared to sacrifice comfort, inclinations, rest, even life itself …’
I find myself ‘blown away’ by the intensity of Eugene’s love – for God, for the Church, his community and those he has been given to serve. To be in the presence of such a love must be some kind of a grace for it urges me to look more deeply within myself, to open myself to receive such graces from God and inspires me to live in the way that Eugene did.
It is not written for me in any cannon law or any church pages. There are no ‘musts’ about it save that it has been engraved in my heart. And most surely this love, this way of loving, this way of being was not something that I immediately chose on my own. It was only in first experiencing the love of God that I was able to accept the invitation offered by God with a ‘yes’.
So many years ago it seems, when I first came to know God, first heard his voice and began to experience what was and is the greatest love that could ever be. It was immediate that I knew that I needed to love God with everything that I was and only then would I be able to share with others that which I experienced. Not knowing how on my own I asked God to take my heart and replace it with God’s own, for most surely this would be the only way that I would be able to love others as I have been, as I am loved.