Ours is a strictly semi-contemplative vocation: in accordance with the adage, “Carthusians at home, Apostles abroad,” our Rule has our priests remain in our religious house for half the year, and out preaching the other half.
In our house, Fathers and Brothers have Mass, rosary, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, morning, noon and night prayers in common. There are also three half hours of mental prayer: in the morning, on the Eternal Truths; in the afternoon, on the virtue of the month; and in the evening, on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Fathers pray the Divine Office every day, while our Brothers have their own devotions.
There is time for work in the morning and in the afternoon. For the Fathers, this is spent in study and preparing sermons and other works for the apostolate; the Brothers take care of the material needs of the house; and the novices have classes and manual work.
There are eight hours of sleep each night, and an hour of recreation after both dinner and supper. Every Thursday is free for walks and other forms of relaxation.
Living the life of Jesus Christ is our whole spirituality. It is best summed up in the book of our founder, St. Alphonsus, “The Love of God in Practice.” The love of God removes all obstacles in its path; by forming Jesus Christ in us, this love of God then necessarily gives birth to love of neighbor.
The “direct imitation” of Jesus Christ first of all brings all our external actions into conformity with the life of Christ. But imitation is not something superficial; it allows for God’s grace to radically transform us interiorly so that Jesus lives in us, using us as His instruments to bring His plentiful redemption to the most abandoned souls. Our apostolic charity is the necessary outgrowth of our union with God.
As St. Alphonsus de Liguori and Bl. Maria Celeste Crostarosa say, it is purity of heart in a special way that is born of love of God, and gives birth to love of neighbor. Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” Jesus always looks upon His Father with the eyes of His Heart, and abiding in that pure gaze, He goes from town to town preaching to the poor and forgiving sins: “The Father is with Me, for I do always the things that please Him.”
Purity of heart is the antidote to our modern materialism and worldliness. Redemptorist spirituality is particularly relevant to our 21stcentury, and it holds a practical remedy for our modern problems: to fix our interior gaze on God, and then to let His Love flow through us onto others, “especially those of the household of the faith.”
By detaching us from our own will, from the prospects of having our own family, and from material possessions of our own, the three vows of religion bind us more closely to God and make us more pliable instruments in His hands for the work of Redemption.
St. Alphonsus also has us take a fourth vow and oath: to persevere until death as Redemptorists. Our vocation of “direct imitation” is the “pearl of great price” that Jesus speaks of in the Gospel. The world, the flesh, and the devil will tempt us to abandon the poor and mortified life that Redemptorists live, in order to embrace an easier way of life. Our vow of perseverance “marries” us, as it were, to our Institute to prevent us from being unfaithful to our calling to serve God in the poor and most abandoned souls.
Jesus tells us that “Many are called, but few are chosen.” A good sign of a Redemptorist vocation is the desire to serve God by helping poor abandoned souls, either by embracing the priest’s vocation of preaching and study or the brother’s vocation of prayer and manual work.
But while we must cooperate with God’s grace, it is still His gift that He gives to whomever He pleases: “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” When God calls a young man to be a Redemptorist Father or Brother, He also gives the grace to persevere in the vocation to serve Him in the poor and spiritually abandoned. For now, inquiries about our Redemptorist vocation see our contact page.