“The Consecration to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary is the foundation of our Institute” (Good Father). From this consecration our mission has its origin: to contemplate, live and announce to the world God’s love, which was made flesh in Jesus. Mary has been associated in a singular way with the mystery of God made man and with His saving work: this is what is expressed in the union of the heart of Jesus and the heart of Mary. Our consecration calls us to live the dynamism of saving love and fills us with zeal for our mission.
This article of the Constitutions of the SSCC summarizes our vocation and mission. A somewhat broader exposure can be found in the first chapter of the Constitutions (click to read it)
, which is common for brothers and sisters.
And here are some features of our charism.
Charism is a Greek word often used in the New Testament, especially by St. Paul, which means gift, grace of God to the individual or to the community. In the Church since Vatican II it has become habitual to resort to this expression. In our case the charism of the Congregation would be that particular gift or grace that God has placed in the founders to form a community.
The charism, as everything of the Spirit, is dynamic and evolving, so it is still alive today in the members of the Congregation, although the structures and institutional expressions have changed. This gift marks the way to understand and live the Gospel, and it is this peculiar way of understanding and living the Gospel from certain emphases and accents which we call spirituality.
The spirituality of the Sacred Hearts is expressed in the first chapter of the Constitutions, which is common to brothers and sisters. That chapter marks the following accents as characteristic of our charism:
1.- "The consecration to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary is the foundation of our Institute" (Good Father). This consecration gives a special dimension to our particular vocation in the Church. It involves two aspects, especially:
• Faith in the personal, tender, unconditional love of God for us and in how he affectionately guides our lives. "The good God gives us his grace, blesses us, sustains us, helps us, guides us through life, and does his work in us and through us." This constant feeling of being loved, experienced by the Good Father and Good Mother, is expressed by our consecration to the Heart of Jesus, the source and symbol of faithful love. The consciousness of his love permeates our lives and all our attitudes.
• Mary, by her faith, her silence, her wholeheartedness, is a model for us in our quest to enter the Heart of Jesus. She is our companion along the way.
2.- The Life of Jesus (the four ages: birth, hidden life, public life and death) is determinant of the mission and ministries of the Congregation and is the inspiration for our lives. The realization that no one can exhaust the richness and fullness of Christ leads to true diversity in unity.
3.- Zeal to proclaim the good news of God's love, especially to the poor. When "we put on the mind and heart" of Jesus the servant, "the love of Christ impels us". From that love flows our warm-hearted concern for people, especially for the weak and oppressed. This spirit seems extremely appropriate today in response to a world that is becoming increasingly depersonalized and dehumanized. That zeal which springs from the love that Jesus has for us frees us to respond to the needs of the Church and of the world. As in the case of our own Founders, those needs demand on our part availability, mobility, flexibility, a missionary spirit without boundaries. This spirit guides us especially in the service of the poorest of the world.
4.- The centrality of the Eucharist in the community, as celebration and as thanksgiving, reminds us of the total and loving donation of Jesus to his people and gives us strength to follow him and to give ourselves entirely to our mission.
5.- The reparative adoration, as a permanent attitude and as a specific form of prayer, prolongs the celebration of the Eucharist in our lives. It gives a deeper meaning to the suffering in our lives and makes us think that the sin of the world hurts Christ particularly in the poor and marginalized, to whom we are especially dedicated.
6.- Family spirit of community that derives from the Eucharist, the sacrament of unity, its distinctive features of simplicity, fraternity, hospitality and solidarity.
7.- A single congregation of Brothers and Sisters, as we were founded. It is a significant and permanent reality, rooted in the very foundation of the Congregation. It is not purely functional but is a form based on the charisma or identity of our Congregation. The men and women who joined the congregation from the beginning were devoted to the same apostolic mission. They considered their unity and cooperation as an important part of that mission itself, in response to the needs of society and of the Church as they perceived them. In our days, that unity and collaboration can be a true witness, as long as we move more and more towards equality and complementarity of the sexes, in the Congregation in the Church and in the world.
8.- Internationality not only as a fact but as a value and a challenge. Our charism is not exhausted in one single incarnation; each inculturation of it helps to reveal explicitly its original wealth. Internationality calls us to extend our solidarity, in the line of giving as well as of receiving.
A charisma that has been formulated in a phrase that encapsulates the best of our spirituality and that is in itself a challenge for all religious, men and women, of the Congregation, is expressed in what we are called to by vocation:
“To contemplate, live and announce to the world
God’s love, which was made flesh in Jesus”