Soul Spouse of the Trinity
25th February 2004
To all Vocationist Fathers and Brothers
and to all those who follow the Vocationist spirituality
May God the Holy Spirit unite us ever more with the Son to the Father.
"Convert and believe to the Gospel. At the beginning of Lent the Church turns to us with another pressing invitation to conversion; An invitation too place ourselves directly and intensely on the foot-
In the preface of the constitution reviewed by the General Chapter of 1970, D. Mario De
Rosa, an incomparable instructor, synthesized our goal and our spirituality in these words:
"The society of Divine Vocations is established/or the cult, the service and apostolate of the vocations of God to faith, to priesthood and to holiness ; the society of Divine Vocations wants to achieve in each member the goal of each vocation: divine union with the Holy Trinity.
The person that enters this religious family considers as addressed to himself the words of
Osea " et sponsabo te mihi in sempiternum (I will make you my spouse forever)" (Os.2,19) and prepares himself to say in all truth: Societas nostra sit cum Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto (May our Society be with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit):.
In the ascensional journey towards divine union with God Trinity, the Father shines forth
before him as the goal to be reached, the Incarnate-
The ideal environment to reach such high goal is the Holy Family. The Vacationist finds in Jesus, Mary and Joseph the three supreme types of relationships between the soul and God:-
In the unique triple Church that is:
* expansio of the Holy. Family because it is destined to receive as members the universality of the elected, and overcoming every bond of body and blood, finds the triple ascetical element of the purification, the illumination, that are needed to reach Divine union.
* Irradiation of the Divine life of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
* Thalamus of the Divine Union
All the Vacationist spirituality can be condensed into the formula: “Ascension to the
Trinity, with the Holy Family in the Holy Church.
This high goal is not a privilege of the religious for our Congregation but it is a vocation that regards all souls since all are called to the duty of sanctification. (cfr. LG, V); The Congregation is committed to cultivating this universal vocation in schools, in parishes and in missions. For the development and increment of this triple-
Our final goal
According to our present Constitution, our final goal is to direct and bring all members of
our congregation and through them all souls to the perfect union with the Divine Persons (art.2).
Totally aware that this work of our congregation is the best way to unite all souls to the Trinity in the supreme relationship of love ( Book of the soul page 387, 15), Fr. Justin wants to first and foremost achieve divine union himself in order to transmit it to the Congregation.
The holy Spirit inspires him thus: Be careful to present to the Congregation properly and correctly , well organized and perfected the relationship of soul-
Father Justin retains that each individual, any group, organization and institution should be like a small revelation of the goodness and holiness of the Trinity. Since we are limited, the Lord gives each one of us a particular mission, a word, a mystery, or one of his act or status with which he makes us feel his attraction, even more, his love and his life..( cfr. Asc, art III). In the division of the divine mysteries we were given as our inheritance "the mystery of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the divine nature in the person of the Word ( life), in the glorious state of the resurrection (truth) in the act of his ascension in heaven (way). (Asc.V)
This mystery, unique, exclusive to the person of Jesus became our Gospel, the good news that we must live ourselves and help others to live. This mystery is the highest expression of God's desire to be united with humanity. This is the presupposition of our doctrine, of our desire, of our life as divine union.
Divine Union is a general vocation, part of our vocation to holiness, it is the by product and consequence of God's love towards every creature. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the three divine persons that live the circuminsession ad intra (one divine person living in the other and for the other), they have created us as their imagine and likeness, and consequently want to live the circuminsession ad extra: the life of every divine person in us and our life in God is a pale image of the circuminsesion ad intra. This relationship with God starts at the moment of our creation. We can say that as the grace develops and grows in us, so does the level and the intensity of our
relationship with the divine persons.
Is there a level of progression in this marital relationship? Until death the soul can always
progress, elevate and perfect itself with its God because grace is union ofthe soul with God; and until death the soul can always grow in this divine grace that Lord infuses in the soul in many ways and by many means (Toward the ultimate Goal, chap.II, riepilogo,7)
The more we correspond to God's love the more we increase our union with him. In this
ascensional union and relationship of the soul with God we pass from one type of relationship to another, bearing in mind that every type of relationship contains and combines all the preceding ones. Father Justin talks about the relationship of creature and of servant, subject and soldier, disciple and minister, angel and apostle, levite and priest, martyr and victim, minister, and favorite. (Faciamus Homimem, I page 35) and then soul-
The soul spouse in the scripture
The Old Testament presents us God as the Spouse of Sion , of the elect people, a reason for which it frequently makes reference to sin in general and idolatry in particular as prostitution and adultery.
In the New Testament Jesus is the spouse. All the Incarnation is the feast of the spouse.
Jesus is the spouse of the Church and of every soul. "Enjoy and rejoice, give him glory, because time has come for the wedding of the lamb; his wife is ready, she has been clothed with a splendid pure linen dress."(Ap.l9,7)
Vatican II condenses the relationship between Christ and the church: "Christ loves the
Church as his spouse. He has become the exemplar of spouse that loves his wife as he loves himself (cf.Ef ,25-
Blessed Isacco della Stella says: Even the individual soul can be considered as spouse of
the Word of God, mother, daughter and sister of Christ, virgin and fertile. What is Generally said of the church, in a special way it is said of Mary, and in particular of the faithful soul” ( Disc.51). Saint Paul writing to the Corinthians says: I experience a form of divine jealousy for you, having promised you to a unique spouse, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.(2 Cor. 11,2) Marriage is a great sacrament in as much as it is the image of the nuptial love of Christ toward his Church..
Father Justin writes. According the Gospel life is like a great feast and nuptial banquet to
which all of us are called, where many are the participants, but only a few are chosen. The bridegroom is immediately the Son of God in the human nature, but in him we must understand all the Holy Trinity in this and in all other works of God ad extra.
But who is the bride?. In a general sense it is all mankind to whom God is united in the
incarnation of his S; it is the Holy Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ and ennobled by his blood, so that she may be Holy and worthy to be united to him. In a more appropriate sense each soul in the state and in the life of grace is the bride of God
The soul spouse in the Tradition
Saint Gregory Nazianzenous says that "after the voice comes the word, after the friend of
the groom comes the groom himself (Dis.45.28). St. Sofronious bishop speaking about the annunciation says that God proceeds from Mary as a spouse: In fact in you, Blessed Mother , God has put his tent in a pure and clear heaven and comes from you as a bridegroom comes out of his nuptial room" (Disc 2,26, cfr sal 8). Vatican II speaking about the consecrated life says: "The religious remind all Christians of that that admirable marriage wanted by God and that will appear in all its fullness in the future; the union in which the church has Christ as her unique spouse" ( P.C 25). From the beginning of the Church the Christian virgins are considered as "brides of Christ". In our lives of community prayer we must pray three times a day: " Behold, the bridegroom is
coming, let us go to meet him"! (Mt 25, 6)
Uniqueness of Fr. Justin's teaching
As usual, Father Justin takes the best of each spirituality and makes a synthesis of them. For him religion becomes relationship and each relationship with God becomes a nuptial relationship. While the saints speak generally of Jesus Christ as the groom, Fr. Justin speaks of the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the true bridegroom of the soul. While the saints and the mystics speak of the mystic matrimony or the nuptial relation as something special, Fr. Justin sees this relationship as a common vocation for all, in virtue of our being "image and likeness" of God Trinity. Each soul is a virgin destined to the divine spouse. In the natural order it is highly virtuous to renounce to a human marriage in order to prepare oneself for a better, supernatural marriage, it would be bad to renounce to a supernatural marriage for a lower, inferior goal (Book of the soul
All writings and prayers of Father Justin suppose, express and clarify the relationship of the soul-
In our formula ofthe profession of vows, Fr. Justin not by chance writes: "offero , sacro et
despondeo, loffer, consecrate and espouse all myself to you alone, to you for ever ". He does not hesitate to create neologisms such as "disposare (to espouse) and desponzionato (the time, condition of being married)". Frequently he uses the word "desponsazione" (the act of marrying and the state of being married). It is proper ofthe nature of love to always find new words as well as new forms to express our own feelings. Fr. Justin uses a lot of tender words with affection toward the divine persons as , my love, my life, my heart, my beautiful one, my all, embrace, kiss, gift etc...
Fundamental Doctrine of the soul-
On 17 of April 1940, Father Justin wrote down in his agenda: " There is a need to have a
good doctrinal base for the evangelization of the nuptial relationship that the Trinity wants with every soul. To show from the beginning that love is the ultimate, supreme goal of creation, sanctification and of all man's existence in the light of revelation and in the elevation to the supernatural order ( Libro dell'anima, 444,11)
"With the formation of the woman, the creation of this visible world is completed; the Lord carried man to the nuptial relationship, placed him in the state of the nuptial union and later he entered into the Sabbath (day of his rest). Since then, every child that comes into this world , in spite of all the beauty of his infancy, he does not want to remain a child but longs to become adolescent. Notwithstanding the beauty of adolescence brings, he longs to become a young person. Despite the beauty of spring, he is not content with the flowers but aspires to the fruit and passes to the virility stage and in it, he finally rests.
In fact all the beauty of the progressive budding of infancy to adolescence, from adolescence to youth and from this to the perfect virility is proper to human development.. Similarly and contemporarily man is born son, and notwithstanding all the sweetness of the filial relationship he does not want to be just a son and his own native-
ideal for him; this person becomes the synthesis of all the good that humanity can offer him. With this person, friend above all friends, he can create the new family of his heart, where he finally rests all his life, in the sweet and strong exercise ofthe domain of his conquering love" (TUG 2.2)
The true origin ofthe nuptial union for Fr. Justin is already seen in "Faciamus Hominem, let us make man in our own image and likeness. God is one in three persons, therefore he can never be alone. In this way it is not good for man be alone". Man is not alone because God makes company for him; man is not alone, because he is elevated to the supernatural, he is called to live an intimate life and personal relationship of friendship and love with the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Love never says enough, it is not satisfied until it reaches the consummated union giving himself and belonging completely to the lover.
From our spiritual infancy we pass to adolescence and then to youth and lastly to perfect
Virility; yet the soul is not satisfied with the soul-
He, in himself, has never been alone and is always infinitely sufficient to himself, since in
the unity of nature, there has been eternally the Trinity of persons., Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But besides him we can't find anyone similar to him. Outside of God there was and there is only-
God in himself is not alone; likewise he does not want to be alone outside of himself (ad
Extra). As in himself (ad intra) God lives in three persons, he likewise wants to live outside of himself (ad extra) with many people, that in their innumerable numbers, could be the glory of that adorable unity and Trinity. And as in himself he finds in his persons his infinite sufficiency, in the same way he wants to find out of himself in every soul and person, as a helper similar to himself with whom to share his glory of Father ofthe souls in grace, as a new sufficiency and rest, that only the soul-
To become a soul-
How can we live the relationship of the soul-
When a person gets married -
united with the spouse. The bridegroom does not belong any more to himself but to the bride; the bride does not belong to herself any more, but to the bridegroom. So they share everything. Their joy consists in making one another happy. The nuptial relationship consists in giving oneself to the other and receiving the other. True marriage only exists when the two are no longer two but one. The lover cannot be far from the lover and so he tries whatever is possible enjoy the presence of and the union with the loved one. Fr. Justin reminds us that as faith is nourished through hearing, so, in the same way charity is nourished through the vision or the presence of the loved one.
For Father Justin: the first two human individuals were created for each other and both
completely for God. Each one of them had in the other the object of his complacence and created term of his development. They did not have to desire anything else anything else in creation. The soul that meets and gives herself to the Lord, besides God has nothing else to desire among natural and supernatural goods hut the God alone; she does not have to please anybody but God (TUG 2.1)
Our venerable founder has indeed understood and lived this relationship, as the only
necessary thing, as the hidden treasure or the only precious pearl. In this relationship he sees the highest dignity and fulfillment of the human being. In fact when the soul establishes herself and crows in the divine union, she experiences like an interior explosion of an unlimited capacity of love; an image of the infinite capacity of divine love!
In the soul-
man, with man and for man. All the asceticism of abnegation, renounce and sacrifice has no other objective but to free the soul in such a way that she can live only, always and everywhere with God. It may be interesting to notice that according to Fr. Justin, true purity, that allows us to see and enjoy God, consists in the complete abnegation of everyone and everything; only thus one is free to see and enjoy God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Vocationist must always practice the virtues of charity, humility and purity because they are essential towards the nuptial union with the Holy
Trinity (erf Ibid 1.4 and 1.5)
Did we are ask ourselves: Why does Fr. Justin always expresses himself in form of prayer? Even when he wants to teach, explain or simply narrate, almost inevitably ends in an intimate dialogue with the three Divine Persons. On the other hand it could not be otherwise. Indeed, it is proper of the soul-
The nuptial relationship in the words of our Father
In Faciamus Hominem. and in The Book of the soul we can indeed see, understand and
enjoy the depth of the nuptial relationship of our venerable Fr. Justin, from the engagement to the consummated union, from the ring to the exchange of heart, from its initial state to the total assumption in the Blessed Trinity. Let us enjoy some hints of what we could call circuminsession ad extra, of the intensity, of the intimacy, of the light and ardour of this relationship in the very words of Fr. Justin:
Behold the Father, God Father, o soul-
missions of the incarnate Word are like the divine nuptial acts of the infinite love God Father. Oh my God and my all I believe in your love.
Behold the Son of God, o soul-
Behold the Holy Spirit, o soul-
Every chosen one in whom Jesus is formed and lives through the work of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary in Catholic Church is also yours. He is for you the effect of the state of the divine nuptial acts in you of the Holy Spirit of the Father and of the Son (Faciamus Hominem II, page 2)
0 my Lord God of love, o source of the divinity, o origin of the Trinity, o supreme goal of
the divine union of the soul spouse, grant that in me and outside of me may always shine that perfection, sanctification and deification that you want to operate in me in order to unite me to you. (ibid.pag.ll)
In the following thoughts transpires in its fullness of light the depth of the divine, marital
relationship as lived by Fr. Justin and as he proposes it to us:
Up to this point, you have wanted the soul to be your image and likeness; you love the soul for her own sake as you love one another for your own sake. I this supernatural nuptial relationship the soul is loved for herself, for what she is, because she is the soul-
The soul spouse is loved for her own sake: only the soul spouse loved for her own sake! 0
Lord, how come, you wanted me in this relationship and have chosen and called me from among the merely possible to life; and from among the living you have called me to faith, from among the faithful you have called me to religious life, and from among all religious you have called me to the company of the true lovers of your Trinity?
How come, 0 Lord, you have chosen my soul, my human person, this individual that I am
and you have offered me your divine alliance, and as even this were not enough for your love, you have elevated me to your divine friendship and even this is not sufficient for your infinite love?
You have wanted and chosen me to your divine nuptials! In this espousal relationship as
glimpse of revelation and promise of love, you show me the endless level of love and union to which your love calls me to unite myself with you in a spiral, progressive, ever expanding, ever lasting supernatural nuptial relationship.
0 nuptial relationship with the Lord, to be embraced in each mystery, in each state, in each act of the incarnate Word! in every dignity and function of his. in his life in Mary, in the Church, in humanity, in his hidden and public, sorrowful, glorious, mystical and Eucharistic life!
0 supernatural nuptial relationship with each of the divine Persons distinctly, in each of the infinite, divine perfections and operations, which are equal in each person and yet vivified by the personal distinction, and to ever more progressive, ascensional levels, indefinitely!
All this means being loved by the Lord our God, being object of his infinite, eternal, immense and unchangeable love. But how come, you have wanted me, o Lord? It will remain for ever a mystery, and a secret of your love, as the mystery of you unity and Trinity.
Like the mystery of your divine being, so is the mystery of your love for me! Oh mystery of my Lord and of his love for me, light of each and every mystery, infinite sweetness and beauty, infinite glory and beatitude, I adore you, I abandon myself entirely to you, in you alone do I trust and rest.
I abandon all myself to you, o infinite act of love,, eternal act of love, immense act of love, in order to be all an explosion of love, all transport of love towards you, you want me to be a growing beauty, growing sweetness, growing tenderness, growing fertility, because you want my soul-
How can a soul be and always become ever growing beauty, ever growing sweetness for God in an ever ascending transport, in an ever blossoming fertility of the supernatural nuptial union with God, but becoming more and more your image and likeness, o divine nature and perfections, O divine Persons and operations?
Here I am for you, here I am with you, o Lord God, o my Divine Persons. I enter into your plural “Let us make man in our own image and likeness” I pass as part of an only working agent in this divine action of yours, I establish myself in this divine present in which I can value all the past and develop all my future.
0 all you levels of imitation, of transformation, of the divine deification come to me! But above all be in me you, o unique, elevating, transforming, deifying power, o divine love, o divine Spirit of unity, o Unity and Trinity of divine relationships of love!
0 my Lord Jesus Christ mediator of love between the Trinity and my soul, between the divinity and the whole of humanity! 0 Jesus divine mediator, and divine example and model of divine union, grant that I may be all nuptial relationship with your Trinity (Ibid.manoscrito pg.84ss)
In the following paragraphs he clarifies that the nuptial relationship is unique to every one of us, and the bride completing the divine creation must also achieve the divine perfections within human limits but always extending wider and wider our boundaries, indefinitely.
In each of his divine perfection (o infinity of perfection in the most perfect divine unity!) in every aspect of his divine perfection (o infinity of aspects of the divine perfection in the divine infinity and simplicity), the Lord who wants a soul-
His image and likeness in that special perfection in which he is the unique God spouse; the soul is the only bride of God: and as God the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son. But the Father and Son are not two principles, but one only principle of their Holy Spirit.
And so, in that special divine perfection we find all three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the God-
This nuptial union proceeds from the Father, the absolute principle of everything " ad intra and ad extra ", but through the Son we are granted to become soul-
God the Father the spouse; God the Son is the spouse; God the Holy Spirit is the spouse, however not three spouses but one only; likewise one is the nuptial union of God with the human soul, remaining the distinction of the three divine persons in the principle of this relationship, since spouse is the Holy Trinity.
All humanity, every soul, saved through the Holy Church, is the bride of the Holy Trinity and each chosen soul is individually, personally and distinctively the spouse of the Trinity, the only bride of God in that special divine perfection of his. (Ibidem, pag. 2 78)
Those who are called to consecrated life and to the holy orders are called to live the nuptial union in a particular way.
One must enter the nuptial union with God Trinity in Jesus and through Jesus, since the bride only follows and must always follow the spouse, and only the soul bride always follows Jesus, she is all an adhesion, more than a follower she is a perfect adhesion, perfectly consumed, totally one with the spouse.
Disciple also follows the teacher, the Son also follows the Father and the mother. But the disciple at a certain point becomes head of a school, and leaves the teacher: the son becomes head of his family and leaves his father and mother to adhere to his bride and his new home (Ibid. 303).
Many years ago Fr Nicola Martino gave us as a precious gift his book II Primo Amore (The First Love). My invitation, my wish, my prayer to all of you is that we may really live our first love. May this First Love be our daily bread, our only aim, the only reason ofour life! In order to make this possible we must control our will and our freedom completely, we must transform ourselves into true stars in the firmament of his love launching ourselves into the firmament of the heavens. So as to become a point of reference and guide for millions of other souls called like us to the supreme union of love. Let us get in this spiral motion from God our principle to God our goal ( cfr
. Dir. Fine 1.1 and 1.2) aware of the fact that we are sustained by the abnegation of our being, which we call -
The door, the heart and arms ofthe Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are open to us.... Let us respond and correspond to his love. United his love, I remain
Yours in J.M.J.
Father Louis M. Caputo, S.D.V. of the Blessed Trinity.