Life of Blessed Eusebius

Blessed Eusebius

The life of Blessed Eusebius from Fr Gregory Gyöngyösi’s the lives of the Brothers of the Order of St Paul the First Hermit. (Chapter 1. 5-8.10. 1988 edition)

Heavenly things he had before his eyes, but more so — in his heart.

Eusebius was born in the Hungarian city of Esztergom from parents, who enjoyed excellent and wide spread esteem. In his years of youth, truth attracted him. His ability to endure hunger and thirst grew so much that everyone admired that a man, with such a delicate and subtle body but satisfied with such a scarce food, can lead such a life, always being joyful. He kept great vigils and spent his time reciting the Divine Office, or in contemplation or in study. He learnt philosophy, that thanks to which mortals may become pleasing to God. Thus, he wrote books, without neglecting the perfect fulfilment of God’s commandments, taking care of the Lord’s words “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who works and teaches; such a man will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (cf Mt 7.21 and Mt 5, 19) When, due to his acknowledged merits, he was granted the dignity of a Canon of Esztergom, among many other glorious deeds he wished to practice hospitality, just as the patriarch Abraham once did. For this reason, he often visited the brothers living alone in the forests. They, in turn, came from the hermitage to his home to exchange wicker baskets for bread. Meeting them gave him so much joy, that he frequently went there where God’s servants went out of duty, like an industrious worker bee following sweet honey. Thus, he decided to leave this world, his homeland, material things and his relatives to serve the Lord of ho with all humility. Blessed be the man, Eusebius, filled in a marvellous way with God’s love. Not wanting to hide the bonds of charity that enveloped him, he offered his friends and acquaintances the flowers of virtue and a burning spirit of devotion — forgetting his past riches and considering all things passing as dung — his friends decided to go and live with him to win Christ alone. In this way, he made those, that had tasted the sweetness of God’s love disposed to desire to follow the Lord stripped on the cross immediately and without any remains, just as soon as the wars ended with the enemy heathen Tatars. Eusebius, therefore, with his companions, postponed leaving Esztergom until peace was restored. However, later, with the same devotion, though not with the same age, they went to the inhabitants of the hermitage, declaring that with them they would sincerely serve the Lord Jesus Christ. They did so even though relatives and friends tried to dissuade them from doing so. Eusebius, much more firm than others, refuted the temptations, usually responding, “Listen, — he said — after all, Christ chose the torment, although He loved His mother and He knew that His suffering would cause her suffering because the sword of sorrows would pierce her soul. He did not spare also the close and beloved John the Evangelist, burdened beyond all imagining with the fear of sorrows, because although he could come down from the cross, He did not do it, but remained there until His death. In the same way, because of you who suffer and for us who weep, we do not want to leave the cross of repentance, but we will remain steadfast until death. Let the disgraceful confusion not tear us away from the world that is better.” Hearing this, flooding with tears, crushed in heart and touched by remorse, they could not answer the spirit that spoke through him. Surely, the hermit’s brothers benefited immensely from him, though seasoned in the holy life.

Bl Eusebius at prayer
Bl Eusebius at prayer

Brother Eusebius, a man devoted to God, a magnificent lover of the desert, living with six brothers in a cave consisting of three rooms, laid the foundations of the future monastery following the monastic rule. He once lived in the cave near the fountain, which flows in honour of the Holy Cross. That same cross whose power made powerless all the attempts of the ancient enemy of the human race. He himself lived rich in virtue, distinguished by piety and sanctity, though with a weak and pale body. He was seasoned in all humility, taking away from his mouth and lessening, curtailing to a minimum the measure of food and drink, by which he was always healthy and beautiful. Enlightened by God’s grace, he very earnestly practised hospitality among the various pious duties and works. The renowned caused by him, which made him famous, brought him to a young man named Benedict, who dedicated himself to the service of monks forever, sharing with them the same kind of holy life in the community. Another, named Stefan, who was destined to become a general of hermits in the future, also joined, following his example. At that time, the pious father, rejoicing at every penitent, went to the oratory, where, as he used to, thanking God in an ardent and highly repentant spirit, full of tears, begging the Lord, the Giver of all things, to multiply the number of novices and he preserve them in their sacred commitment.

Undoubtedly, thanks to his merits and prayers, they remained steadfast. In addition, many others old and young arrived. Then, kings, princes, and noblemen of different kingdoms erected numerous monasteries whose names were written around 1263.

In 1262, the aforementioned Eusebius, the provincial prior, having taken several brothers with him, came to Urban IV and asked for the Blessed Augustine’s Rule. St. Thomas Aquinas usefully came to help in the Roman Curia.

Eusebius, a most prosperous and a most sincere father, who always lived in the greatest submission to the Lord God and very zealously serving his fellow men, established numerous cenobia in Hungary. When he was about to go to eternal rest near the moment of his death, in order to shape the religious and saintly life, gave a beautiful encouragement to all his numerous disciples. They would love God above all else, and then our neighbour, because these are the two main commandments given to us. Moreover, among other virtues, they especially keep obedience, for the kingdom of heaven is gained only by those obedience to the commandments. He then added that they ought to keep his salutary instructions as a mark of unity. In the presence of the brothers while they were praying, in beautiful old age, he fell asleep with his fathers and was buried at the Holy Cross on February 20.