The Youth Congregation required a set of regulations to observe so as to achieve its ideals. In 1813 Eugene provided this rule of life in the Statutes.
N.B. As we will reflect on some sections of this rule of life for the youth in the coming days, it is essential to bear in mind that it was written 198 years ago in a social and religious climate that was very different from our own today. In some cases the vocabulary of the 19th century that is used is no longer that of the 21st century – but Eugene describes the same basic truths. In these entries I will attempt to touch the heart of Eugene’s ideal for the youth, in the hope that the reader today can enter into its spirit in a very different world.
The 1813 Rule fo Life for the youth is divided into four sections.
The first section focussed on Jesus Christ in their lives, and this was to be the foundational principle of the Youth Congregation for as long as it lasted. The congregants were to:
work at appreciating the sacredness of their vocation to belong to the religion of Jesus Christ;
make every effort to conform their lives to that of their divine Model, and
profess a loving devotion to Jesus in recognition of all the goodness He had filled them with.
Règlements et Statuts de la Congrégation de la Jeunesse, 1813, p. 19
The ideal of being “all for God” which was at the centre of Eugene’s own life is the ideal that he aims to communicate to the young people. He wants them to appreciate that the Youth Congregation is their way of responding to the apostolic call of Jesus: “Come follow me” by following the example of Jesus and living in a loving relationship with him.
“I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends” John 15:15