The model of how to “BE” was that of Jesus and the apostles, which then evolved into the first Christian community. Regarding the spirit of poverty he wrote:
The first Christians followed that counsel faithfully to the letter. They still had fresh before them the example of their divine Master…
These reasons have been more than sufficient for us to determine, in our Institute that wants us to walk in the footsteps of the early Christians and in the spirit of the holiest religious Orders, to adopt this essential point of the perfect religious life.
All will be in common in our Society, and no one will have any personal possessions.
How steeped he was in the apostolic model was shown when he wrote :
The income of each house will not rise beyond six thousand francs, which is sufficient income to maintain twelve priests and seven serving brothers, the maximum who can live in a house.
1818 Rule, Part Two, Chapter One. §1. The Spirit of Poverty.
He refers symbolically to the 12 apostles and the 7 deacons of the New Testament. It is interesting to note that this is the first time in the Rule that he speaks of the Brother Missionaries. They came into existence a few years later than this text.
The Spirit prompted the first Christians to share everything. Under the influence of that same Spirit, we hold all things in common. Our members adopt a simple lifestyle, remembering that it is essential for our religious institute to give collective witness to evangelical detachment.
CC&RR, Constitution 21
“He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.” Meister Eckhart