Continuing his presentation of the vocation of the Missionary, Eugene reflected on how to maintain the spirit of the apostolic model in everyday life:
So he ought to do everything to arrive at this desirable holiness which is to produce such great effects. What we have found most apt to help us attain thereto is to come as close as we can to the evangelical counsels, faithfully observed by all those who have been employed by Jesus Christ in the great work of the redemption of souls.
That is what has resolved us to despise honours and detest riches which are the obstacles which trip up too great a number of priests who thereby render their ministry unfruitful and endanger their salvation.
Letter to M. Viguier, 6 January 1819, O.W. VI n 38
The “evangelical counsels” are the attitudes of the way of life of Jesus which we find in the Gospel. The total commitment of Jesus to his salvific mission was expressed through his life of chastity, poverty and obedience. His apostles lived by this spirit, and so the Missionaries committed themselves to these by making vows. Expressingt the evangelical counsels in different words:
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Philippians 2:4-8
“For only as we ourselves, as adults, actually move and have our being in the state of love, can we be appropriate models and guides for our children. What we are teaches the child far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.” Joseph Chilton Pearce