March 25, 2010

Verbum caro factum est – The Word was made flesh

The Solemnity of the Annunciation stands as the principle feast of our Religious Family, whose spirituality is “anchored in the sacrosanct mystery of the Incarnation”(Const. 36). March 25th also marks the anniversary of the foundation of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), and thus the birth of our small Religious Family in the Church.

The highlight of this year’s festivities was the celebration of Holy Mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in East Harlem, NY presided by His Excellency Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York with nearly 30 concelebrating priests. His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick was also present and gave the homily. During the Holy Mass, novices of both institutes made their total consecration to Mary according to the method of St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort in preparation for the profession of vows.

In the homily, Cardinal McCarrick began by giving thanks to God for three blessings of the day: a friend–the presence of Archbishop Dolan; a feast–the principal feast of our Religious Family; and a family–the spirit that so distinguishes our Institutes.

Cardinal McCarrick then turned to the Gospel (Lk 1: 26-38) to consider what our Blessed Mother might have been doing right before the arrival of St. Gabriel the Archangel. He suggested that she was either working, studying or singing in praise of God. In each of these possible activities, Mary demonstrates a readiness to do whatever God asks of her. The angel declares Mary to be “full of grace” by which we know that she possessed perfect love of God, leaving no room for fear. Perfect love drives out the fear that enters into every life and Mary shows us by her response that we must never be afraid to do God’s will. Furthermore, we must do God’s will as she did, with perfect love and joy. For how can one be full of grace and perfect love and not sing the praises of God?

After Mass, more than 800 family, friends, members of our Third Order and religious gathered for the feast and fogon in the cafeteria of St. Paul’s School.

West Coast Celebration at St. Leo the Great, San Jose, CA
Priests, sisters, Third Order members, and parishioners from St. Leo and Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara gathered to celebrate the 26th anniversary of our Religious Family.

Vigil Celebration in the Bronx
In addition to the celebration of Holy Mass on March 25, our Religious Family gathered from throughout the Province at St. Jerome’s Parish in the Bronx to celebrate the Vigil of the Annunciation with Solemn Vespers, dinner and Matins. During the celebration of Matins (Office of Readings from the Liturgy of Hours), Provincial Superior Fr. Gustavo Nieto, IVE preached about the signs of a soul truly devoted to Christ by reflecting on the words of St. Bernard:

“When you shall see a soul leave all things to adhere to the Word with all her strength, live by Him, allow herself to be guided by Him, conceive what she should bring forth by Him; a soul, in short, who can say: for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain, then you can indubitably recognise her for a spouse of the Word (In Cantic. sermo LXXXV, 12).”

Drawing also from the writings of Bl. Abbot Columba Marmion and Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, Fr. Nieto emphasized the expiative nature of our vocation and our great desire as members of this Religious Family to be “another humanity added to that of Christ.”

We give thanks to our Blessed Mother for the countless graces and blessings that we have received since the foundation of our Religious Family 26 years ago in San Rafael, Argentina. We pray through her intercession for continued fidelity to our foundational charism and that we may to grow in the knowledge of the mystery of the Incarnation, for “the truth is that only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light”(Gaudium et Spes, 22).