Prayerful reflection on our identity
Our Charismatic identity-5: Called to be “men on fire with love” to evangelize through the “ministry of the Word” in “prophetic mission” so “that they may have life”
General Chapter XXIV: Men on Fire with Love
48. The love of God burns in us the desire to share it (cf. Works III, p 493). It expresses an efficacious desire and that is why we try by all possible means “to set the whole world on fire with God’s love” and to bring his Word to the ends of the earth.
That desire, necessary in any process of growth and of missionary proclamation, can easily go cold. Thus we need to enkindle it time and again with the Word of fire that comes from God25 and fashion it on the hard anvil of the apostolic life with its struggles and contradictions.
General Chapter XXIII: That They May Have Life
12. The Word to which we have been entrusted (cf Acts 20:32) and which we serve: a) Proclaims the Gospel of life: it discovers, accompanies and empowers all the bursts of life that the Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, gives rise to in our world. In this sense, our ministry of the word becomes God’s consolation for people who most suffer the degradation of life. It becomes a “mercy principle” for those torn apart by hurts, failure, guilt and sin. It presents a horizon of hope to those who believe that human life has no meaning: we are children of the God of Life, who will not allow his faithful ones to experience decay (cf Ps 16; Acts 2:27, 31-36). B) Denounces the many threats against life, which we discover in each context. The force of the Word does not give in to prejudices, fashions, fears or pressures, nor accepts as normal the culture of death presented in many cases as progress in human history. c) Is accompanied by signs of life (cf 1 Th 1:5; 2 Cor 12:12). In a globalized world, often indifferent to the signs of death, the Word of God, of which we are servants, defends life at all its stages and in all its forms. The power of the Spirit defends and recreates life through individuals and groups, organisms and associations that work on its behalf. We and our communities collaborate with them in order to give a total and credible Yes to life and life in abundance.
General Plan of Formation
25. In close communion with its diverse ministries and charisms, the ministry of the word, through which we communicate the total mystery of Christ to humanity, is our special calling among the People of God. Collaboration in this ministry pertains to the very origins of our common life. We are a community called together in the Spirit for the announcement of the Gospel. For us, the Word of God is as essential to community, as community is to the Word of God. Hence, one of the core aspects of our formation is initiation and growth in the ministry of the word, understood as an authentic way of being, acting and signifying.
26. Mary lived this mystery in its fullness. We, too, under her maternal action learn to accept the Word, to embody it in a life?commitment and to communicate it with the same readiness and generosity that she did. The listening to, fulfillment, fraternal sharing and announcement of the word, whether personally or as a community, are basic moments of the dynamics of the Word that must be present in all stages of formation.
Gospel (Mk 16:15-18)
Then he told them, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned. Signs like these will accompany those who have believed: in my Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes and, if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed. They will lay their hands on the sick and they will be healed.”
Autobiography of Claret
449. Here I seem to hear a voice that says, “Man needs someone to help him understand his being, to instruct him in his duties, to guide him in virtue, to renew his heart, to restore him to his dignity and, to some extent, his rights, and all this is done through the Word.” The Word has been, is, and will always be queen of the world.
450. The Word of God brought all things out of nothingness. The divine Word of Jesus Christ restored all things. Christ told his Apostles, “Go out into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” St. Paul told his disciple Timothy, “Preach the Word.” Society is perishing for no other reason than that it has withdrawn from the Church’s Word, which is the Word of life and the Word of God. Societies have become weak and are starving because they have ceased to receive the daily bread of God’s Word. Every plan of salvation will be sterile unless there is a return to the fullness of the great, catholic Word.
452. The ministry of the Word -at once the most exalted and invincible of all ministries because it has overcome the world- has been converted everywhere from a ministry of salvation into a wretched ministry of ruin. And just as nothing or no one could hold back its triumphs in apostolic times, so nothing or no one can hold back its ravages today unless it is confronted by the preaching of priests and a flood of good books and other holy and wholesome writings.
6. In the Church we are steadfast helpers of its Shepherds in the ministry of the word, using all means possible to spread the good news of the kingdom throughout the world. For the good of the whole Body of Christ, we profess love and obedience, even by vow, toward the Church’s Supreme Shepherd. In communion with the bishops and under their leadership, we strive to serve in the building up and growth of the Church.
46. The ministry of the word, through which we communicate the total mystery of Christ to humanity, is our special calling among the People of God. For we have been sent to proclaim the Lord’s life, death and resurrection, until he comes, so that all who believe in him may be saved.
Sharing the hopes and joys, the sorrows and trials of the people, especially those of the poor, we readily offer to join efforts with all who are striving to transform the world according to God’s plan. Nevertheless, we must faithfully and boldly proclaim the Good News of the kingdom, especially since there are many, led astray by the lure of power, wealth or lust, who oppose it.
47. Our Congregation fulfils its proper mission by raising up and strengthening communities of believers, either by leading people to conversion to God through faith or by renewing their life in Christ and leading them to perfection in it.
For personal reflection and prayer
- Is for you the Word of God a lamp in your life? Do you practice “lectio divina” or another kind of reading of the Bible?
- How are you living in your apostolic life the ministry of the Word?