Eugene’s description of the Missionary vocation to a prospective member continued:
We live in community under a mild Rule which fixes our duties and gives a very great value to the least of our actions.
The spirit of charity and of the most perfect brotherhood reigns amongst us.
Eugene had understood the power of the words of Jesus, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Tertullian was to show the impact of these words when he wrote of the second-century Christians: “Look how they love one another… and how they are ready to die for each other.”
From this relationship flowed the mission of the group:
Our ambition is to gain souls for Jesus Christ. All the wealth of the earth cannot satisfy our avarice, we must have heaven or nothing or, to say it better still, we wish to assure ourselves of heaven while earning nothing on earth but to be persecuted by men.
If this prospect does not frighten you and if you are firmly resolved to persevere all your life in our holy Society, come running – our arms and our hearts are open to you and we promise you the same happiness that the Lord deigns to let us enjoy.
Letter to M. Viguier, 6 January 1819, O.W. VI n 38
“Human models are more vivid and more persuasive than explicit moral commands.” Daniel J. Boorstin