Advent – Christmas 2003
To all Vocationist Fathers and Brothers
I, Mother of God
My dear confrere,
“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? … he who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven, this is brother, sister and mother to me” (Mt. 12, 48 -
“The Holy Church, the Holy Family and the Divine Trinity are the center and axis of the Society of Divine Vocations. The Vocationists works in the Church, with the Church and for the Church, he imitates the Holy Family in the relationship of soul-
“In the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Vocationists must see the mystical ideal for their relationship with the Divine Persons, respectively, that of child of God in Jesus, Mother of God in Mary Most Holy, soul spouse of in St. Joseph” (Fr. Justin, Rules and Constitutions, Vol. 1, Chapter 4, Article 23).
“With the promise of fidelity the Vocationist commits himself to the perfection of charity, starting with the confreres, superiors, equals, and dependants, with whom the Lord has linked him in the same congregation” (ibid. Chapter -
“Sign and banner of the Christian is the Cross…sign and banner of the Christian is the Sacred Heart of Jesus…sign and banner of the Christian is Mary Immaculate, of whom the book of Revelation says: a great sign appeared in the sky. A woman dressed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, with a diadem of twelve stars. In the reality of these three signs it is gradually revealed to us the reality of the saving plan of God” (Ascension 925).
“At the beginning and throughout the advent and Christmas time, shines before us the sign-
1. Mother of God
Sine 431, when the Fathers of the council of Ephesus solemnly declared Mary Theotokos, that is Mother of God, to our days, thousands and thousands of titles that sink the beauty, the graces, and the predilections of the Blessed Virgin Mary, have sprung up from the loving heart of those who have been singing the glory of Mary, and even more from the sincere and pious devotion of Christians. All, in one way or the other, under one aspect or the other, derive from that first, most singular title; all of them in a certain way, are an explanation and a development of that.
Mary is an icon and type of the whole Church and of every believer. In every title of Mary we must see the beauty, the graces, the predilection of which the Lord wants to enrich each and every one of us. Whatever is said of Mary, in a lesser way can be said of each and every one of us.
“There is a sovereign soul a really privileged person who is truly Mother of God, in the assumed human nature of Jesus, the Incarnate Word. Jesus, the essentially son in the divinity and in humanity, graciously bestows on his chosen ones the maternal relationship of Mary and his filial affection for Mary, when they cooperate with the Holy Spirit and Mary in order to give him a new existence in the souls, and when they become one with the only Father through the union of their will with his (Fr. Justin, Toward the Ultimate Goal, 3.11).
According to the mind and heart of our Fr. Justin, the Vocationist is called to live a relationship of “Soul-
The first gift that God has given to us in His life. He wanted that this gift be bestowed upon us through the meditation of a mother. It is truly mother not only the person that, cooperation with God transmits to us biological life, but any one who works to enrich life of human, spiritual, ascetical, mystical, affective, intellective, psychological, social, moral, relational life etc…
Maternity is always marked and almost naturally enriched of every love, every tenderness, every concern, every vigilance which is, by necessity transformed into giving everything, doing everything, inventing everything for the good and the growth of children. In force of its nature, maternity, and the relationship of soul-
God, that we ordinarily call Father, as the Prophet Isaiah teaches us, has all the characteristics of true mother.
2. I, Mother of God
For you and for me if it is not new or strange to think that everyone of us is called to become and to be mother of God. I must become and be mother of God! When in the formula of our religious vows we promise fidelity to the Holy Family in the Congregation, we solemnly commit ourselves to live the relationship of soul-
In the likeness and in honor of the divine maternity of Mary, the Most Holy Trinity calls me to live the relationship of soul-
In the Introduction to the guidelines “Sponsa Trinitatis”, Fr. Justin goes through the various forms of love and then he concludes: “All of them can reach their objective and realization in the adorable person of Jesus Christ, who grants the privilege of loving him as a son to all those who do the will of his Father, thus becoming one with the Father; in a very particular way he grants this privilege to the priests (almost like to Mary) through the Eucharistic consecration (n, 6; cfr. Mt. 12, 49 -
On a Good Friday I was deeply touched, moved and inspired when an elderly lady came to kiss the crucifix and with tears in her eyes, she exclaimed: My son, my son, what did they do to you!” Oh! How would I love to have her sense of maternity toward Jesus!
3. Soul Mother in Fr. Justin
According to Fr. Justin the supreme relationship with God is that of soul-
Spiritual maternity derives from the fact that the soul-
“By accepting, following, cultivating and – somehow – fostering the growth of inspirations, the soul – spouse assumes the function and the dignity of mother in the house of God and in the family of nations. Children of the soul-
He who loves God with a motherly heart wants to see him loved, respected and adored always and everywhere and consequently does his very best untiringly to render him present in every soul. Whenever one cooperates to the growth of God’s knowledge, love and grace in a soul, in a certain way, we become mother of god, giving him a new life in that soul.
The relationship of soul-
Fr. Justin implies this spiritual maternity also when he says that one of our surprises in heaven will consist in seeing our own resemblance in the souls that we have generated in the love of God; to them we have transmitted some of our characteristics, just as a mother transmits her traits to her child.
The relationship of soul-
“The apostolate of the soul-
Task of the soul-
4. Mother of Divine Vocations
You and I are vocationists, You and I must be mother of vocations. This maternity toward vocations is materialized by conceiving the possible vocation in an individual, facilitating its discovery in the one who has been called, fostering its growth, accompanying it to maturity and leading it to conform ever more to Jesus Christ, the first religious of God.
As a Vocationist, mother of vocations, I must conceive the vocation in the one who has been called; I must see it with the eyes of faith first and then I should help it to assume its own form and life. In my traits, in all my actions I must be fatherly and motherly; I must exercise all the functions and services of a true father and of a real mother toward those who have been called. I must defend, sustain, nourish instruct, protect and love God’s chosen ones.
Fr. Justin is leading to be soul-
Not to be a mother for a woman is mortifying and humiliating both in the Bible and in real life. A person cannot be mother without having children. One cannot be mother of vocations if he does not generate nor nourish any vocation!
5. Mother Toward the Congregation
At the beginning of advent we make ours the longing and the prayer of Fr. Justin, “grant me your birth, “Grant me your birth, O Divine Jesus and my sweet life, the birth of your pure love “grant it to all souls, to every parish, school and mission, the birth of your pure love. Grant it to every family, to every community, to every association and to every soul. New life in the supernatural world, new life with Holy Spirit to the glory of your Father, (Devotional P. 220). Oh Divine Word and my sweet life grant your birth to this Congregation of ours and enable us to give life to son many other Jesus, to so many other priests.
Usually we refer to the Congregation as our mother, and in many ways she is mother to us. Now I ask you as I ask myself to extend this relationship of soul-
The advent of God’s kingdom must first come in me, and then through me in the Congregation, in the church and in the world. The Congregation expects me, wants me, and needs me as its mother. How am I living this relationship of soul-
Often mothers become eloquent lawyers to defend their children. Am I the defender of the Congregation? According to the needs of her children, a mother turns herself to be doctor, nurse, teacher, councilor, cook etc… Am I all these things for my Congregation? As I wrote to you in my first letter, now in the spirit of Advent and Christmas, I repeat, “ask yourself what you can do for your Congregation, rather than asking yourself what the Congregation can do for you”.
This Congregation of ours, that at times seems so fragile and so needy, doesn’t need your condemnation or rejection; It needs your approval, your support, your motherly heart. Be for her a true mother, that gives her new life and not a parasite that deprives her of her vitality.
6. Practical Recommendations
In order to develop and foster in ourselves this spiritual maternity, I remind you of some practical recommendations given by Fr. Justin.
1. Always desire to save yourself as a saint, and, desire the same thing and provide it to every soul.
2. Become a sower of joy, messenger of peace, irradiator of serenity every where
3. Grant to every person, even externally all the possible esteem and honor, in words and actions.
4. Wholeheartedly say of every person all the best you know of him.
5. Surround with tenderness the newest member of the community, those who are tempted and guests.
6. Lovingly practice brotherly corrections without ever supposing unwillingness to correct oneself.
7. Always sacrifice the proper interest for the sake of others.
1. Carry on your heart the names of the confreres of your community in order to have them present in your prayers.
2. Respect all the norms of good behavior, good manners especially in community I and in society.
3. In things that are pleasant don’t interfere with others.
4. Avoid any curiosity of what others say or do if you are not bound by a specific duty.
5. Lovingly offer your services in things that are not pleasant.
6. Willing occupy yourself with instruction and entertainments of those who are less educated.
7. Likewise practice all the works of Mercy especially with the sick and the poor (Rules and Constitutions, Vol 1, Ch. 34, Numbers 98 &99).
Even though these norms where not directly written in order to foster the growth and fruitfulness of the relationship of soul-
I conclude with Fr. Justin’s words, “with all his love toward the Holy Church, the Holy Family and the Blessed Trinity, the Vocationist must embrace his Congregation of which he is part and with which he unites himself in this triple and unique ideal; he sees and receives that irradiation of this triple and unique center. With outmost fidelity he must zeal its perpetual formation, expansion and fruitfulness making every effort to make sure that she will never lose any sons that the Lord sends to her, but rather helping every one to reach in our Congregation the highest possible perfection and to offer the greatest possible apostolate” (Ibid. Ch. 33 N. 96).
You and I have the joy and the duty of giving new life to this family of ours. Together let us make every effort to develop this relationship of soul-
Wishing an eternal Christmas to you, to your and our friends, relatives, benefactors, collaborators and acquaintances, I greet you, embrace you and bless you.
Sincerely in Jesus Christ,
Fr. Louis M. Caputo, S.D.V. of the Blessed Trinity.