January 9 1837 found Eugene writing a rather long letter to Father Joseph Martin at Billens in Switzerland. He wrote about his reflections on religious who are unfaithful to their vocation, the reasons they said they were leaving and of the seriousness and ramifications of their decisions.
“One should listen to Saint Liguori on this subject. I have his Memoirs before my eyes to console and strengthen me. What is even more sad is that God is offended and even grievously offended, and yet the persons concerned are so blind as to remain calm and without any remorse, in an habitual state of resistance to their essential duties. […] Some say that they could do more good elsewhere. What is culpable in these plans is disguised under this pretext. But how long will we have eyes and not see?” (600:IX in Oblate Writings)
I know what happens to the community when one of its members leaves – it can be like a knife carving out a small section of the body – leaving a hole that is painful and that can fester if the wound is not tended. It can often be easier it seems for persons to move away from something than it is to stay and with courage look at what is going on in their lives, within themselves.
For me it so necessary to be honest with myself and then talk with my community, my family, a colleague or a trusted friend as well as listening to the Spirit before making a decision.
Eugene’s statement about those in community feeling they can do better and more on their own while those who are not in community would love such an opportunity is one that I see today. Community life – family life – can sometimes be hard to live – even with deep love it takes work and nurturing. I do not plant a seed and then walk away from it. No, I must tend it – pull the weeds from around it to give room to live and grow, water and nourish it. Tend it from birds and animals who would carry it away or eat it’s fruit before fully grown and ready to share it’s abundance.
For me personally I think my ego will always try to find a way to take over. I need to be constant in watching out for that. I may well be as a small field daisy in a rather large patch of other field daisies, rather than a prize-winning rose, but this is how I shall bloom and live – with the others around me. I make up one small pixel of an image of the universe. But without that one small pixel there is a hole in the fabric. The Body of Christ as it is lived out for each of us. I must remain true to who I am in God – this is the only way I shall find true meaning and happiness.