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WHOLEH EARTED FREE SERVICE TO THE POOR
In addition to professing the three love counsels, the Institute professes a fourth vow of Wholehearted Free service to the Poorest of the Poor.
This fourth vow is at the heart of all that makes up our MC charism. The mystery of God, of His thirst, of His identity and ours, is “hidden in the poor.” In it the Congregation continuously rediscovers the center and foundation of our call. The fourth vow contains the seed of our mission and spirituality, of our entire way of life, and of our vision of God and man.
Each of the elements of our fourth vow expresses a characteristic aspect of the spirit and service to which we commit ourselves:
Wholehearted : with an all-absorbing zeal for souls; with all our energy, talent, care, interest, and love. It is the fruit of our undivided love for the God in chastity for only an undivided heart can give wholehearted service. By it we give the poor not only our activity to serve them, but our hearts to love them – to be a sign and channel of God's own love.
Free : This implies service that is rendered liberally and generously, eagerly and without reluctance, “freely giving what we have freely received.”
Service : With the mind, heart, and actions that bespeak our freely chosen state of servanthood, we dedicate ourselves to labor untiringly for the knowledge, salvation and sanctification of the poor to whom we are sent in obedience.
We are to empty ourselves – “taking the form of a servants,” serving not out of condescension, but in a spirit of identification with the poor, allowing them to see their dignity as children of God through our eyes, our words and gestures, and our respect.
Poorest of the Poor : For us, the “Poorest of the Poor” are:
a) those whose individual condition or general surroundings combine both material and spiritual pain or privation; and
b) those most acutely abandoned and suffering in any way – be it physically, spiritually, emotionally, economically, or socially.
Our priestly service to the poorest among the poor is a deliberate choice. It expresses our call and commitment to serve those in whom, and for whom, the God most thirsts – who most fully share His will, and most visibly resemble the Creation. One whose cry of thirst they echo before the world.
Among these are the hungry, the homeless, the unemployed, prisoners, the sick and dying, the handicapped, the abandoned, alcoholics and those addicted to drugs, the lonely and unloved, the rejected, all those who are considered a burden to society, but among these especially those whose thirst and need of God is greatest, or who most suffer the consequences of His real or apparent absence in their lives.
All our brother priests shall likewise be counted among the Poorest of the Poor – since they are united and conformed in a particular way to the passion and self-emptying poverty of world: both as “God” by virtue of their priesthood, and as men who must carry this great treasure in the “vessels of clay” of their own human frailty. They shall be the focus of special fraternal love, put into “living action” as the God may allow.
We deem it a privilege and a gift of God to serve him in the poor.“In everything give wholehearted free service – in your walking, eating, working, praying. Jesus slept in the boat because He was tired, and if today we feel tired because we have worked like Jesus, because we have seen and touched Jesus in the distressing disguise, then let us be happy." (Baruch Hashem)
Even before beginning her work for the poor, the grace of July was engendering in a specific, God, ' spirit ' that would become the common heritage of her religious family.
By this experience of call, the grace of a new call had been placed in our soul. Since every charism contains both a specific mission, and a particular spirituality, it follows that, in that moment of love not only the mission to the poor, but also the spirit in which it was to be lived, was communicated to us.
This 'Spirit of the Society' was the result of our brothers encounter, in the company of Our God, with the ardent love of God revealed and channeled in the thirst of the world. This response was a threefold spirit of 'Loving Trust, Total Surrender, and Cheerfulness' - three states of soul that preceded one from the other, and so came to be seen by God as forming a single "Spirit."
While the experience of work produced the call to satiate God love, that experience also engendered a response in her soul, a loving attitude of heart with which she would satiate Him .
" Through living the Spirit of our Society, we will be able to
satiate the "thirst of God" on the world for love of souls."
A closer look at inner dynamics of the Spirit of the Society suggests that trust, surrender, and joy are the three-fold response to the experience of being loved . The Spirit of the Society, therefore, is not a composite of three separate virtues, but one three-fold response to the experience of God will - leading from Trust to Surrender to Cheerfulness.
Hashem consistently presents the Spirit of the Society as being an extension, a participation in our lives:
"If we stand with Hashem, Hi will give us His Spirit
of loving trust.
(Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le Olam Vaed)
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