Indeed Eugene’s perseverance through what is now called the Icosia Affaire had a profound affect on him. If anything his heart grew larger and he seemed to love even more. In a letter to Father Jean-Francois de l’Hermite he wrote on October 5, 1858:
In a whirlwind all around me, I am happy, my dear son, whenever an urgent reason pushes me to do what I have been long thinking of doing and from which I am hindered and side-tracked by incessant business matters. So, today I shall leave aside everything else and go to you, first of all, to thank you for the lively little gift you gave me from the shrine of Clery…
Al Hubenig wrote: “For the Founder of the Oblates, inner peace meant accepting certain situations, knowing that Providence never abandons anyone, even during great periods of anguish and divine silence, and that he would come out of the crucible refined, with serene inner growth and greater human understanding.”
Love matters most. This feels like an invitation – for me to pause, to rest. I will not measure whose crucible was the worst, the saddest or the most painful. We each of us are called to this. For me the invitation is to take time just sit with God – to to reflect or think or even write. Simply to sit with. From this I will gather strength and courage for the days ahead, for the very ordinary of life.
Like Eugene I am feeling happy this morning. It is a happiness that follows a period of trial and seeming abandonment and aloneness. It is quiet joy that comes riding the back of peace.