Eugene wrote a very short letter to Fr. Tempier noting the return of Cholera to Marseilles but equally stating he was unafraid.
“Your cholera and your epidemic do not frighten me at all. I have always regretted that I did not die in 1814, when I had contacted typhoid in the prisons. I would ask for nothing better than to succumb to another attack especially if it is while fulfilling a duty of charity or of justice.” (632:IX in Oblate Writings)
I know that this was not a death wish, however Eugene did wish to be a martyr for God and so I think perhaps this is what he refers to. At least I hope so. For he clearly loved life and all that God offered to him. Yet he would joyfully die while in the service of loving others.
Would I be so magnanimous? I do not know if I would have the courage but I would like to think that I do. God asks of me what he knows I can give and handle. This does not mean that he loves me any less than a martyr, nor that I love him any less than another. We are all called to something different. For Eugene it was to found a great congregation and family, to share a way of living with all of us, to be there for his men at the start and to die in old age so that his wisdom and tenderness would be a gift to all. I am called to live this live with the charism that is shared amongst us. I am not sure that I have any great amount to give another – save to be a small sign to others.
I am grateful for the life that God calls me to.