On May 10, 1837 Eugene wrote to Fr. Martin at Billens in Switzerland with his reflections on those who were unfaithful to their vows of religion. However it was not the contents of that letter with struck me but rather his opening lines:
My dear child. I would very much like to tell you viva voce what I content myself in writing to you. Become more and more worthy of your vocation. We can never do enough to be grateful for all the good the good Lord helps us to accomplish…” (617:IX in Oblate Writings)
“My dear child” – I wonder what it would be like to receive a letter that begins in that way from the founder of the congregation which I might have the grace to be a member of, or the Father Superior of the community? It is as I would imagine that God might speak to me, when He was pleased with my being.
Eugene then continues and tells Fr. Martin that he would love to be speaking with him in person but will content himself with the writing of letter. As I sit here and reflect on what it would mean to receive a letter which displays such love I can’t help but ask myself when did I last write such a letter to those I love? It has been awhile indeed. I feel a little sad that I have forgotten to let some know that I love them dearly and remind them that I think of them often and pray for them always. There is also a small feeling of guilt in my stomach that I let the time slide by. I am not so important at anything or so busy that I couldn’t have made some time.
I shall write them now and try to send and convey in the note all the love and tenderness that Eugene captured in his “my dear child”.