Having a Serious and Not Merely Sensible Spirituality

Our spirituality is profoundly marked by all aspects of the mystery of the Incarnation [1] . To the point that we could say that our spirituality is that of the “Hail Mary”, that of the “Angelus” and that of the hymn of the kenosis [2] , that of the “Magnificat” and that of the “Gloria” [3] . Therefore, it is a spirituality that impels us to transcend the sensible and disposes us to total detachment seeking in everything and for everything the glory of God [4] .

In accordance with the charism with which God has blessed us and given the immense spiritual needs of humanity in today’s world, we are convinced that with an increasingly deep-rooted strengthening of the principles of our spirituality and being creative when disseminating it, the members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word will be able to provide the particular service that the Church requests and expects of us.

The evangelization of culture demands from us a spirituality with peculiar nuances: “it asks for a new way of approaching cultures, attitudes and behaviors in order to dialogue in depth with cultural environments and make their encounter with the message of Christ fruitful. […] Said work requires a faith clarified by continuous reflection that confronts the sources of the Church’s message and a constant spiritual discernment sought in prayer” [5] . Therefore, following the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, the members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word understand that “evangelizing consists mainly in bringing the grace of God to all men, making them a new humanity, that is, new men.” createdaccording to God in justice and true holiness [6] ” [7] .

Understood in this way, the evangelization of culture is characteristic of our apostolate: the preaching of the Spiritual Exercises according to the genuine spirit of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the preaching of the popular missions where the Eucharistic devotion and the sacrament of reconciliation, together with the devotion to Holy Mary, are the pillars on which the evangelization of a people is built and preserved; and of course, the announcement of the Word that seeks to lead men to conversion to God through “full and sincere adherence to Christ and the gospel of him through faith” [8] .

Now, why do we say that our spirituality is serious?

Ours is a “serious spirituality”, not because it is joyless or boring, but serious because it is open to transcendence, and makes us tend to it even in the midst of life’s difficulties, because it understands that “all the best from here, compared to those eternal goods for which we are created, is ugly and bitter” [9] .

It would be because it gives primacy to the life of prayer, because we know that “we do not work for ephemeral or fleeting things, but for ‘the most divine work among the divine, which is the salvation of souls'” [10] and prayer comes to be for us the soul of our religious and apostolic life.

Serious, because it is markedly Eucharistic.

Serious, because we want to immolate ourselves through the practice of the Marian vows of obedience, poverty, chastity and maternal slavery, to strive for the perfection of charity by imitating the Incarnate Word in his way of life, and to be “like a footprint that the Trinity leaves in history” [11] .

Serious, because “following the Pope in doctrine and the saints in life, we will never be wrong, since the Pope cannot be wrong in the teachings of faith and morals, nor were the saints wrong in the practice of the virtues ” [12] .

It would be, because “we want to form priestly and priestly souls that are not “tributaries” [13] . May the kingship and Christian and priestly dominion live to the full” [14] .

Serious, because “we want to form virtuous men (from “vir” and “vis”: who have the strength of a man) according to the doctrine of the great teachers of the spiritual life, especially: Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Louis Maria Grignion de Montfort, Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus, of all the saints of all times that the Church proposes as exemplary for us to imitate their virtues” [15 ] .

It would be because we are commanded to be “teachers of prayer” and it urges us, as we have just said, to learn from the great teachers of the spiritual life, among them the great doctor of the Church of San Juan de la Cruz.

It would be because it is anchored in the solid doctrine taught throughout the centuries by our Holy Mother Church, who wanted to make San Juan’s teachings one of its most beautiful pages. And although many souls friends of sweetness and consolation do not want to read Saint John of the Cross and fill their heads with soft authors [16] , we prefer the “hard bread” of the radical doctrine of San Juan, because “it is what God gives ordinarily those who want to carry forward” [17] . Well, the same one who told us: Follow me [18] was the one who associated with his called the staff of the cross.

Ours is a serious spirituality because, based on the lively and vigorous faith that it seeks to instill in us, it makes us capable of judging everything from transcendence, and gives us that providential vision of all life [19] with which we value everything from God. and in order to God. Certainly this is born from prayer, but it is translated into concrete works of religious demand. Total and complete detachment, effective and affective, from everything that is not God, and the loss of fear of “being left with nothing”, in whatever order, are also elements that characterize us.

Being aware that “religious life is a process of continuous conversion” [20] and that we must always grow in our faith, we are encouraged to courageously undergo “active and passive purifications of the senses and of the spirit” [21] . Indeed, we consider that “a religious who is not willing to go through the second and third conversion, or who does not do anything concrete to achieve it, even though he is with us in body, does not belong to our spiritual family” [22] .

Ours is a serious spirituality because it imprints love for the cross on fire in our souls, which should motivate us to always choose it, in preference to any other means. The cross not only accepted but positively and directly preferred and embraced.

Ours is a serious spirituality because we consider that “the clamorous idea is to sacrifice oneself”, and that only “this is how history goes, even silently and hiddenly” [23] .

Ours is a serious spirituality because it leads us to strive to “embrace the practice of the apparently opposite virtues […] practicing truthfulness, fidelity, consistency and authenticity of life, against all falsehood, infidelity, simulation and hypocrisy” [ 24] .

Finally, ours is a serious spirituality because it is Marian. And consecrating ourselves as slaves of the Virgin we are following the path that he followed, that he continues to use and that he will use to come into the world [25] . That is why our fundamental code reads: “All for Jesus and for Mary; with Jesus and with Mary; in Jesus and in Mary; for Jesus and for Mary” [26] .

God alone [27] .


[1] Cf. Constitutions, 8.

[2] Cf. Flp 2,6ff.

[3] Directory of Spirituality , 78.

[4] Cf. Constitutions , 67.

[5] Cf. Directory of Spirituality , 51; op. cit. Saint John Paul II, Address to the Bishops of Zimbabwe (07/02/1985), 7; OR (08/21/1985), 10.

[6] Eph 4, 23-24.

[7] Cf. Directory of Evangelization of Culture, 57.

[8] Constitutions , 165; op. cit . Redemptoris Missio , 46.

[9] Saint John of the Cross, Letter 12, To a maiden from Narros del Castillo (Ávila) , February 1589.

[10] Directory of Spirituality , 321.

[11] Constitutions , 254 and 257, Formulas of religious profession.

[12] Constitutions , 213.

[13] Cf. Num 18, 24; Gen 47, 26; San Juan de Ávila, Sermons of saints , op. cit., T. III, p. 230, cit. to Saint Vincent Ferrer, Opusculum de fine mundi .

[14] Constitutions , 214.

[15] Constitutions , 212.

[16] Cf. PC Buela, IVE, The Art of the Father , Part III, chap. 14.

[17] Saint John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book III, chap. 28.7.

[18] Mk 10, 21.

[19] Notes of the V General Chapter , 11.

[20] Constitutions , 262.

[21] Constitutions , 10.40 and Directory of Spirituality , 22.

[22] Directory of Spirituality , 42.

[23] Directory of Spirituality , 146.

[24] Constitutions , 13.

[25] Directory of Spirituality , 83.

[26] Directory of Spirituality , 352.

[27] Constitutions , 380.