Apostolic zeal for the love of God

“One cannot be an apostle without being creative; and without being creative one cannot be a missionary”[1].

1] Hence, for us who confess ourselves “essentially missionary”[2], one of the non-negotiable elements attached to the charism of the Institute is precisely apostolic creativity. This is an element that flows from Christ’s own command: Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel [3] and as the Father has sent me, even so I send you [4].

This is why every member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word experiences a healthy “eagerness to preach the Word in every way”[5]. 5] And so, following the Gospel command: Go and teach all nations [6], they go out into the whole world [7] “with the fervor and enthusiasm of the saints, even in times of difficulty and persecution”[8] to preach the Gospel “even at the cost of renunciation and sacrifice”[9].

9] Each one of us, knowing that we are evangelizers and catechists, strives to perform as such wherever we go and whatever the task entrusted to us. I will wear myself out and wear myself out [10] is our program. We do not settle into the comfort achieved after a few years in our place of mission, we do not spare efforts to evangelize, but we dedicate ourselves to do more and better for the cause of Christ, knowing at the same time that the main protagonist of the mission is the Holy Spirit: everything is grace and we can do nothing without Him, but He has constituted us as His cooperators [11]. Ours is to be always available. For this reason, we do not renounce a priori any of the ways of preaching the Word [12], and with great creativity and inventiveness we seek to adapt ourselves so as to reach all souls.

We are aware that “it is necessary to take up, as far as possible, without abandoning the traditional means of apostolate, the modern fields that are opening up to the activity of the Church. For healthy creativity is an essential element of the Church’s living Tradition”[13]. But at the same time, because we are “of the Incarnate Word” we are not afraid of new pastoral activities, as long as they are according to God. In such a way that we devote ourselves with enthusiasm not only to teach catechism but also to serve everyone by whatever means counsel and prudence inspire us, with the sole pretense of spending and wearing ourselves out to win souls for God. For ours is to live the folly of the cross, that is, to live in the more and in the above [14].

So it is that in the various realities of our missions, whether in rural areas or in the great metropolises, whether in the most extreme climates, whether working in corporal or spiritual works of mercy, whether in the silence of the cloister, ours is to die to ourselves so that others may have life and hope, basing all our apostolic work principally on an interior life rich in faith and intimate union with God [15].

Today we have missionaries dedicated to intellectual work, to the publication of magazines and books, to the preaching of popular missions and spiritual exercises, to the care of parishes, many of them in needy areas; others dedicated to family, youth, hospital, vocational, etc.; missionaries engaged in the ever more extensive apostolate of the mass media; missionaries dedicated to the educational apostolate at all levels and especially to formation in seminaries, among many others that we could mention. Because we are convinced that “what is not assumed is not redeemed”[16], and that nothing human can remain alien to us, nor can it remain alien to the Gospel.

In short, ours has been a call to “perform great works, extraordinary undertakings”[17]; to take seriously the demands of the Gospel: go, sell all that you have… [18] that is why we ask God every day for “spiritual fervor, the joy of evangelization, even when we have to sow in tears”[19].

We are religious in order to radiate the fervor of those who have received, first of all in ourselves, the joy of Christ, and we accept to consecrate our lives to the task of proclaiming the Kingdom of God and implanting the Church in the world. 20] In the same spirit, we are ready “to discover with joy and respect the seeds of the Word present in the national and religious traditions of different peoples in order to transform them with the divine power of the Gospel. We are persuaded that our field of action as missionaries of the Incarnate Word has no limits of horizons, but is the wide world, because Jesus said: Go into all the world… [22]. 22] Thus, our missionary vision is universal, and we strive to reach the greatest number of souls through different means.

For this reason, we are ready to take the first steps for Christ, without being intimidated “by fear of the limits, real or fictitious, that seek to shorten our priestly action”[23], but rather we try to move “with docility and readiness to carry out what the Holy Spirit asks”[24] and in this same fidelity to the Holy Spirit we find the way to overcome all the difficulties that we might encounter in the mission. We are not satisfied with just having the doors of a parish or a mission open, but we go out to exhort souls to come, and with countless initiatives we make sure that this parish or this mission is kept alive and that Jesus always has company. For ours is apostolic creativity [25].

“You cannot be an apostle without being creative; and without being creative you cannot be a missionary.”


[1] Cf. Ars Participandi, ch. 10, 2, c, 1.

[2] Constitutions, 31.

[3] Mk 16:15.

[4] Jn 20:21.

[5] Directory of Spirituality, 115.

[6] Mt 28:19.

[7] Mk 16:15.

[8] Directory of Missions Ad Gentes, 143.

[9] Directory of Missions Ad Gentes, 139.

[10] 2 Cor 12:15.

[11] Cf. 2 Corinthians 6:1.

[12] Priests Forever, Part II, Chapter 3, 11.

[13] Constitutions, 160.

[14] Directory on Consecrated Life, 398.

[15] Directory on Consecrated Life, 259-260.

[16] St. Irenaeus of Lyons, quoted in Puebla Document, no. 400; cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree Ad Gentes, no. 3, note 15; Constitutions, 11; 40.

[17] Directory of Spirituality, 216.

[18] Ibidem; op. cit. Mt 19:21.

[19] Cf. Directory of Missions ad Gentes, 144.

[20] Cf. Ibidem, 144; op. cit. Cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi, 80.

[21] Cf. Directory for the Evangelization of Culture, 83; op. cit. cf. Ad Gentes, 11.

[22] Cf. Directory of Spirituality, 87; op. cit. Mk 16:15.

[23] Cf. Priests Forever, Part I, ch. 6.5.

[24] Directory of Spirituality, 16.

[25] Notes of the Fifth General Chapter, 5.