The 30 year-old Father de Mazenod started his youth ministry with 7 young persons in 1813. With the numbers increasing rapidly it was necessary to produce statutes to formally express the ideals of the group and to give the body the regulations needed in order to live these ideals. The Rule would express the spirit that Eugene wished to communicate to them of how to live each day.
One must begin with the principle that on the good use of our days hangs the good use of life, and on the good use of life hangs eternity.
To spend the day well, one must try to establish a balance between the various duties one has to fulfil such that one gives nothing to one at the expense of the others.
Abridgement of the rule of life of the congregants of the Christian Youth Congregation, 1816, O.W. XV, n. 135
He was responsible for three versions we have of the Statutes: the initial Rule, then an abridged version of the main points and, finally an 80-page well-developed one. Many of the religious ideals that had been close to the heart of Eugene from 1806 onwards were evident.
Eugene gave the best of himself to the youth he was directing, thus communicating his central ideas to them in the Rules he drew up for them. The future Rule of the Missionaries of Provence would consequently contain similar ideas as a result of “a long work of maturation in the spirit and the heart” of Eugene (E. Lamirande).
Youth is, after all, just a moment, but it is the moment, the spark, that you always carry in your heart. (Raisa M. Gorbachev)