During his retreat of 1837 Eugene wrote about what he felt God might be calling him to.
“Dear God, when one looks at things with the eyes of faith and with a strong conviction about one’s duties, when one sees the difficulties which conspire against their fulfilment, there is every reason to be discouraged and deterred. However, one must proceed, it is what must needs be that God is imposing on me, let us be brave and count on his grace. For that above all it is necessary to work seriously at becoming a saint. This new phase of my life must be a time of complete renewal. Many times already I have made shipwreck of my resolutions. The opportunity is too favourable to be lost. Without this, what would become of me! I would succumb irretrievably to the burden it would be impossible for me to bear with the ordinary graces of a common virtue. […]. I really need to reinvigorate my soul. God provides me with the opportunity since he imposes on me a weighty duty that I will be able to fulfill properly only by following in the footsteps of the saints. It is already a signal grace to understand this much; now I must correspond with it and obtain the rest.” (185:XV in Oblate Writings)
This new phase of my life must be a time of complete renewal. That is how I am feeling about my life right now. I remember having a thought along those lines when I was in the hospital. I felt like God was asking me to let go of more – perhaps my self-control or more aptly my self-reliance. It was hard being in the bed for even a short while and having to ask a nurse to help so that I could go to the bathroom. It was hard for me to lie there alone and not give into the fear that always seems to rise in a time of crisis – exactly when we are alone. I found myself unable to concentrate enough to pray – all that I could do was be and so asked God to hold me in that.
And then to have the medical profession after doing all of their many tests and examinations tell me that they did not know why I blacked out, they didn’t know if it was the first of more to come or a one-time event. Not knowing – that is so very hard. I mean – Just tell me Lord and I’ll be able to deal with it. “I’ll be able to deal with it!”
I don’t know why or how, but feel like I am entering a new phase in my life. And I want it to become a time of complete renewal as Eugene wrote. Not sure what that will look like – but maybe – just maybe it will look a little more humble, maybe it will look a little more like looking at God to fill my needs and not rely on myself so much.
Eugene wrote: “I really need to reinvigorate my soul. God provides me with the opportunity since he imposes on me a weighty duty that I will be able to fulfill properly only by following in the footsteps of the saints. It is already a signal grace to understand this much; now I must correspond with it and obtain the rest.” That’s sort of how I am feeling right now. Next step – how do I do this?