CHAPTER III. Chastity, poverty, obedience, and stability
CHAPTER III Chastity, poverty, obedience, and stability
28.--Wishing to follow the mission of Christ, we commit ourselves as members of the Congregation to evangelize the poor for the whole of our lives. To fulfill this vocation we embrace chastity, poverty, and obedience according to the Constitutions and Statutes. And so, "the little Congregation of the Mission... to work for the salvation of people, especially the rural poor... has judged that no weapons would be more powerful or more suitable than those which eternal Wisdom so tellingly and effectively used" (CR, II, 18).
29.--§ 1.--Imitating Christ in his limitless love for all, we embrace, by vow, perfect chastity in the form of celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. We accept it as a gift given us by the personal and infinite goodness of God. § 2.--In this way we open our hearts more widely to God and neighbor, and our whole way of acting becomes a joyous expression of the love between Christ and the Church which will be fully manifested in the age to come.
30.--Intimate union with Christ, true fraternal communion, zeal in the apostolate, and asceticism supported by the experience of the Church, will enable our chastity to grow strong. Through a continual and mature response to the Lord's call, it is a living source of spiritual fecundity in the world, and it also contributes greatly to the attainment of human maturity.
31.--"Christ himself, the Lord of all, lived in poverty to such an extent that he had nowhere to lay his head. He formed his apostles and disciples, his co-workers in his mission, to live in the same sort of way so that individually they did not own anything; . . . each confrere must try, weak as he is, to imitate Christ in developing this virtue of poverty" (CR, 111, 1). In this way, members will show that they depend entirely upon God, and their evangelization of the poor will become more effective.
32.--§ 1.--In fulfilling his responsibilities according to the purpose of the Congregation and the community plan, each member should acknowledge that he is bound by the universal law of work. § 2.--The income from each one's work, or anything which comes to him in any way, as a member of the Congregation, after incorporation, such as pension, financial assistance, or insurance benefits, will become community property according to our own law, so that after the example of the first Christians we may live with a true community of goods and may help each other fraternally.
33.--Mindful of the conditions of the poor, we should have a style of life that reflects simplicity and moderation. Whatever we use for the apostolate, however modern and efficient, should not be ostentatious.
Whatever is needed for the support and growth of members and for carrying out our work, should come principally from the joint effort of all. The Congregation, avoiding any accumulation of goods, should try to share its resources with the poor. In this way, freed from the desire of riches, we would witness to a world enamored of materialism.
34.--By reason of our vow we need to have the consent of the superior according to the Constitutions and Statutes when we use or dispose of goods. But since his consent is scarcely enough to promote the spirit of poverty, each member must weigh what is more suitable and conformable to our life and ministry, according to the spirit of our Founder as expressed in the Common Rules.
35.--We should use our own goods, with the permission of the superior, according to the Fundamental Statute on Poverty in the Congregation, for works of charity and also for members, while avoiding distinctions among us.
36.--Conscious of human limitations and trusting in the saving action of Christ, who became obedient even unto death, we should generously try, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to be obedient to the will of the Father manifested to us in many ways.
37.--§1.--To participate in this mystery of the obedient Christ requires us all to seek, as a community, the will of the Father. We do this through mutual sharing of experience, open and responsible dialogue in which differences of age and outlook interact, so that common directions may surface and develop, and lead to making decisions. § 2.--Mindful of the words of St. Vincent, and in a spirit of co-responsibility, members should strive to obey superiors as promptly, joyfully, and perseveringly as they can. They should try by the light of faith to obey decisions of superiors even when they consider their own views better.
38.--§1.--By reason of our vow of obedience we are obliged to obey the pope, the superior general, the provincial, the local superior and their substitutes when they give us a command in accordance with our Constitutions and Statutes. § 2.--We should also obey the bishops in whose dioceses the Congregation is established, in accordance with universal law and the law of our Institute, following the mind and spirit of St. Vincent.
39.--By our special vow of stability we vow to spend our whole lives in the Congregation fulfilling its purpose, performing the works assigned to us by superiors according to our Constitutions and Statutes.