During his retreat Eugene is brutally honest with himself, looking inward to ensure that he is living to his highest standards. It is not for himself but for God. He writes how it will be the salvation of others that brings about his own salvation. He writes:
“Assiduous meditation of God’s law and profound reflection on the great obligations of the episcopate will bring me no doubt to perceive some gaps in the resume I have just done. It is my disposition to adopt everything that may be of help to me in reaching the perfection of my most holy estate.
As my obligations cannot be limited to the acquisition of the sublimest virtues, I must attentively consider what is imposed in relation to the flock the Sovereign Pastor is to confide to me. I must achieve my salvation through them, I must save myself with them, at least I must be able to bear witness to having done everything that depended on me for their instruction, […], be an example to them in all kinds of good works, finally to procure for them all the means in my power to assure their salvation and lead them thus from the terrestrial fold, where God places them under my crook, to heaven where we must be reunited in God’s bosom.” (185:XV in Oblate Writings)
So I look firstly at what this might look like in my own life, examining my life in God – all that I have done and been, as well as the gaps of what I have not done or have not been. What do I need to adopt that will help me in reaching the perfection of my most holy estate because although I am neither bishop nor pastor I have been called to love and give all of myself to God. Indeed what a most glorious estate that God has called me to live in.
I find myself thrilled and joy-filled as I hear: “I must achieve my salvation through them, I must save myself with them, at least I must be able to bear witness to having done everything that depended on me for their instruction […] to be an example to them in all kinds of works, to use all my powers to assure their salvation, leading them to God which is for us our final goal.
I have never really thought of myself in this light and yet I do now and pray that there is no ‘self’ or arrogance of any type in my thoughts and prayers. It may not be in the type of leadership offered by the Bishop Eugene de Mazenod, not in a direct light but rather indirectly as I do what I can. Just as I do with a dear dear friend. I do it by being a part of a community that will help lead her to perfection just as this same community works to do thusly with me.