Eugene’s spirits seem to pick up in one sense in his letter of January 11, 1837 to Father H. Guibert, at Ajaccio in spite of the fact that he is writing after receiving notification that one of the Oblates in Corsica has died after falling from a horse.
“I share all your sorrow.., he was so much at home where he was! He was so agreeable to you! It was a relief for me to know that he was there with you! I counted on his wisdom, his kindness, his common sense, his orderly spirit, his devotedness. What an atrocious loss!
I admit my weakness and my failing; such a blow overwhelms me; my soul is overcome with sorrow. I am tempted to complain to God about the fact that he grants too soon a reward which can be enjoyed for a whole eternity while he removes from us the means to do here below what he commands us. I disown whatever human element there is in such a thought; it is an involuntary cry of suffering. May God’s will and his will alone be done! Let us be resigned without murmuring to whatever pleases him to do with us, with what belongs to us, the works he has entrusted to us, even our Congregation.
Good-bye. I press all of you to my heart, I embrace you, I bless you, I am with you in thought, with my heart, with all the sentiments of my soul.?” (601:IX in Oblate Writings)
Here for all the world to see is the true heart of Eugene, a heart utterly and absolutely transformed by his love of God. I see here as well the ‘both/and’ for Eugene seems to be almost overwhelmed with sorrow at the death of Father Joseph Laurent Richaud, professor at the Major Seminary of Ajaccio who was just 33 years old. But with the sadness and sorrow is also the complete love and the adherence to his way of being ‘all for God’. “May God’s will and his will alone be done!”
Eugene’s goodbyes to the community there at Ajaccio – pressing all of them there to his heart, embracing and blessing them, being with them in thought and indeed his soul. A connectedness and oneness that only great love can understand and attain and which comes only in and through God. That is what speaks to me this morning – in and through God.