Robert P. Maloney, C.M. made a presentation on “The spirituality of societies of apostolic life” to the
meeting of members of Societies of Apostolic Life held in Ariccia, Italy
“All of us have noted, with some joy, the renewed interest in spirituality today. Some of its manifestations are wonderfully healthy. Others tend toward the bizarre.1 But one thing is clear. There exists a hunger, “a profound and authentic desire of 20th century humanity for wholeness in the midst of fragmentation, for community in the face of isolation and loneliness, for liberating transcendence, for meaning in life, for values that endure.”2
Our members too yearn for wholeness, for meaning, for transcendence. The Lord calls us, as leaders in the Church, to try to satisfy their longing. We have many responsibilities as superiors general: decision-making, planning, meetings, personal interviews. But I suggest to you today, my brothers and sisters, that there is nothing more valuable that we can do for our congregations than to hold up before their eyes a captivating vision; an ultimate concern that will enable them to integrate life and give it away as a gift; a deep, vibrant, holistic spirituality.
The topic you have asked me to address, “The Spirituality of Societies of Apostolic Life” is very difficult. It would surely be easier to speak about the spiritualities (in the plural) of Societies of Apostolic Life. But that would be an endless task since our heritages are really quite varied. For example, Bérulle, Vincent de Paul, and John Eudes, though contemporaries and collaborators, handed on to their congregations distinctive ways of approaching God. It could be very interesting to talk about their different emphases: about the vow of slavery to Our Lord and the Blessed Mother that was so important to Bérulle but that ruined his relationship with the wonderful Madame Acarie; about Vincent de Paul’s creative love for the poor and his commitment to simplicity, the virtue he called “my gospel;” about John Eudes’ deep devotion to the hearts of Jesus and Mary. But those are themes for another day.
That, however, is the path I set out on, for better or for worse. Today I offer you a few reflections on common characteristics in a spirituality for Societies of Apostolic Life. But first, let me begin with a word about spirituality.
For the full text see http://www.famvin.org/cm/curia/vincentiana/1997/97-6-maloney-spirit.html