On April 16 1837 Eugene wrote to Fr. Courtes in Aix telling him about his appointment to the See of Marseilles. He wrote:
“My dear Courtès, it is a consolation for me, in my disappointment to see you pleased and satisfied at the trick my Uncle has just played on me. My plan was quite different, it was more to my taste, to my inclination, I like to believe that it offered less advantages to the Congregation. We must not think of it any more. God seems to have given the verdict, my duty will be to do my best in the new position where his Providence is placing me. I have always feared pastoral responsibility. It weighs very heavily on me. As long as work was only a burden, I carried it willingly; in the future, it will not be so.” (612:IX in Oblate Writings)
I hear in Eugene a joy, perhaps mixed with a little trepidation of what his life will be like, but nevertheless a joy. Perhaps that is only my perception and that my own joy is colouring all else.
Eugene’s honesty is disarming! It is the only word I can use for it. It is heart-stopping, invitational and inspiring all in one. It disarms another. This has been said of myself but I must admit that I did not know what it really meant. There is a joy that comes for a moment, but also a niggle of fear for there is a responsibility involved. But in Eugene this honesty is wonderful. Here is a man who was not afraid to give his “all” for God, to give himself in total love to God, to his congregation, to the poor and to his Church. And he is a little concerned about his ‘pastoral responsibility’. It seems to me has been carrying that out already, just without a name and a specific place.
Here is Eugene once again while being very aware and conscious of his own humanity also knowing that he will continue giving his all, no holding back, no reserve for that was how he lived.
So it is with quiet joy that I see Eugene’s own depth with is rooted in joy. What a gift!