In his Rule, Eugene shares his enthusiastic vision that embraces the whole world. The way to “become” this ideal is to do what Jesus did:
In a word, put into practice the same means our Savior employed when he wanted to convert the world; you will achieve the same results.
Looking at what Jesus did, Eugene began “first of all to form a group” modeled on the group that Jesus formed with the apostles. Jesus had given the apostles an ideal, centered on the Kingdom of God that they were unable to grasp fully, and a world-wide commission that was beyond their capacity of understanding. For this they needed to be continually formed by the Holy Spirit in the “school of Jesus.”
What did Our Lord Jesus Christ do? He chose a certain number of apostles and disciples whom He formed in piety and filled with His spirit; and after having trained them in his school and the practice of all virtues, He sent them forth to conquer the world which they soon brought under the rule of his holy laws.
The Missionaries are co-operators of the Savior in sharing His Kingdom vision, and need to be constantly open to the challenges of a changing society in order to do this effectively.
What must we, in turn, do to succeed in winning back for Jesus Christ so many souls who have cast off his yoke?
Eugene had defined the Missionaries as a group “who live together and who strive to imitate the virtues and examples of our Savior Jesus Christ.” Rephrasing this in the light of the apostolic model he says:
We must work seriously to become saints, walk courageously in the footsteps of so many apostles who have left us such fine examples of virtue in the exercise of a ministry to which, like them, we are called…
1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter One. The ends of the Institute, §3. Nota Bene.
Missions, 78 (1951) p. 16
“Essentially, what are the disciples? They are Jesus himself who continues his actions. They are not the repeaters of what they have heard, but they are the actions of Jesus that increase and continue.” C.M. Martini