In May Eugene wrote to his mother about his appointment to the Diocese of Marseille. He wrote that he would have liked a quiet life on the death of his uncle, now he will have to sacrifice himself even if he is fed up with the very people for whom he will have to go on doing good, with God’s help.
“…What say you about the trick my uncle has played on me? There I am, nailed down for life. There goes my freedom even for a restricted period that one might have looked forward to. I mean, if my good uncle had preceded me into the other life, I would have gone into retirement to live in peace without a care and with no responsibility. God has disposed otherwise. Now my future will be to do my best in my position, so as to acquit myself worthily of my responsibility before God, the Church and men. Unfortunately I am so fed up with the latter that it will take all my mental resources, and the help of grace, to bring me to go on doing good for them. It will be really an obligation due in justice, once I have become their father!” (184:XV in Oblate Writings)
Strangely enough I think that I understand a little this almost depression-like state that Eugene seems to be experiencing, seems to be in. I see him as having to prepare for an upcoming and extremely large ‘letting go’. In order for him to be able to lead his new and tremendously big flock he will have to let go of what he is holding on to. I myself know how easy it is to hold on to any number of small things that point to something much bigger. Layers – we have to go through layers and so by getting sad or angry he is acknowledging his humanity. This so that he will be able to accept and live the new spirit he is about to receive. This is to my mind the paschal mystery being lived yet again. We all have had to let go of the Jesus who we know to have lived, died and was resurrected, so that we can receive the new spirit. For Eugene that new spirit was his appointment as Bishop of Marseille.
I feel almost a little strange making this pronouncement, but this is what has come to me, been revealed to me for I myself have had similar experiences. This constantly letting go in order to receive yet more. We don’t do it so that we can receive more, but rather because it has become a flow which is our life. We breathe out in order to breathe in new air. Living the paschal mystery in a totally physical and human way – with the very breaths that we take.