SOMASCANS SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES SOMASCAN FATHERS

1. Contemplation of the Father as a Mystery of "Active" Love

"Only God is good" and is "the source of every good." He is always at work. His deeds are concrete and splendid interventions of love, which transform the history of the human events into the history of salvation (mirabilia Dei - the wonderful things of God) and reveal his fatherly face. The supreme deed, God's masterpiece, is the Crucified Jesus, the perfect icon of the Father's love. "God is love ... God's love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son to be the sacrifice.” Another deed of the Father is our adoption: in Christ we are really his children. "Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God's children; and that is what we are." The immersion in the active love of the Father triggers a spiritual dynamism which opens up: 1. to a great and absolute trust in God alone (faith and hope in Him alone); 2. to a filial confidence in the sweet and loving Father, great in love; 3. to an awareness that "there is no moment in which we do not enjoy divine love and mercy," united with an interior attitude of total availability to the demonstration of His love, which works great things in us . The faithfully preserved spirit of adoption nourishes filial relationship with the Father, who "wants to enlist us in the number of His beloved children and to make us holy." The Somascan Spirituality, therefore, develops itself in the daily life as an imitation of the perfection of the Father's love ("you must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect)" "be compassionate as your Father is compassionate") through concrete deeds of generous gratuitousness, which goes beyond discrimination and partiality. "The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing: and whatever the Father does the Son does too." The Somascan Spirituality leads to believing in love, to dwelling in love in order to dwell in God and to be His dwelling. It returns the Father's active love with a filial love, based on deeds and truth rather than on words. It makes of us signs of the paternal love of God, who is refuge, help, support, advocate of the orphans and the poor. The primacy pertains to love, that is not meant as a mere human quality, but as a theological reality and as a participation in the life of God. For this reason the Somascan Spirituality leads to an intense and persevering prayer, as 1. a dialogue between the Father and His beloved children 2. a listening to His word, 3. a search of His will, 4. a petition for perfect love, deep humility and patience, in order to serve our brothers and sisters, light in order to discern the works the Father wills us to perform ("we need to seek the grace of working because faith without deeds is dead." The dynamism of the Somascan prayer is pointed out by the words of ST. Jerome: "we have to pray inuch, so that we may see and, by seeing, we may work."  

2.

Contemplation of the Crucified, as a mystery of given love

The Somascan Spirituality emanates from the contemplation of the Crucified, as a Gospel of a love active "to the utmost." In the Crucified we discover the true face of the gather, who limitlessly loves in total gratuitousness, as well as the face of every human being who suffers, especially the face of the innocent, scarred by loneliness, discrimination, injustice, violence, etc. The Crucified is the utmost attestation that "to love is to serve." The dynamism of the Somascan Spirituality expresses itself in following "the way of the Crucified." Christ carrying the cross becomes the role model on the way of an active love, which takes upon oneself the wounds of the human suffering and heals them. First of all, we have to assimilate His own feelings, which urge us to take up the condition of servants 1. in the most complete solidarity with Christ and with the poor of Christ, by following "naked the naked Crucified," who, though rich, became poor in order to enrich mankind with His poverty, and by carrying "with oneself the only living faith in Christ" and "the friend poverty;" 2. in the most loyal availability to the Father's will through the total offering of oneself for one's brothers, by obeying till death on the cross as Christ did, by choosing "to live and die with" one's poor, "without binding oneself to any particular institution in order to follow the Lord's will in everything;" 3. in the most generous gratuitousness, which is to be the transparency of our most loved God the Father, by welcoming the initiative of the Father who pours His tenderness in our hearts, so that we may be able to welcome the orphans and needy as our Founder did: "no one better than he loved and served the Lord's poor despite their condition... , as the universal father of the poor." * Continuous Conversion The wounds of the Crucified and of the "crucified" brothers and sisters call for a continuous conversion. Once we have removed the blindness of selfishness, our eyes and hearts become able to see the sufferings of the least of the poor, and to love them as "those who best represent Christ." The Somascan Spirituality makes us live the conversion as the coming back to the love of the Father by journeying on the way of the active love for our brothers and sisters. ** Ascesis The Somascan ascetic journey winds after Christ who carries the cross. The old man with his inclinations opposed to the Spirit is crucified through the meditation of the word of God, prayer, fast, mortification of the senses, self-control and works of mercy, in order to give life to the new man ("temple of the Lord"), who, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, "fills up in his own flesh what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church." The new man, created in justice and holiness, is rooted in Christ, "stays with Christ." He "imitates his beloved Master Christ with all his strength" and from Him he learns 1. to be gentle and humble in heart, meek and benign with everybody, 2. to proclaim the Gospel to the poor, 3. to pass by and do good to everybody with "works" of liberation and promotion, 4. to be the good Samaritan who becomes neighbor to the needy, 5. to welcome the least of our brothers and sisters, 6. to practice the new commandment with concrete deeds (washing of the feet) of daily service. The new man seeks the beatitude of poverty and meekness, of purity of heart, of the practice of Jesus' example and of the joy of giving to Christ by serving the poor ("in so far as you did .this to one of the least of those brothers of mine, you did it to me." The new man is filled with burning desire to draw men and women to God.

3.

Contemplation of the Holy Spirit, as a Mystery of Communion

The Somascan Spirituality expresses itself by being fully docile to the Spirit. It requires that one allow oneself to be internally shaped by Him, in order to become more and more similar to Christ, the Servant, and to become instruments in which Christ works. The Lord's Spirit spurs one on the way of peace and love. The docility to the Spirit leads to the communion as a participation in the mystery of the Trinitarian love and as a living strength which builds unity as a witness of faith and love in the service to the brothers and sisters. “As you are in me and I in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me." The Spirit of adoption, through which we are called and really are God's children, gather us together as brothers in the house of the only Father, and forms a new family of faith, where we love each other with the same love Christ loved us with, where we break the bread of unity, where we proclaim the kingdom of God by serving the poor. The Spirit of communion introduces us in the spiritual atmosphere of the Upper Room (washing of the feet, new commandment, Eucharist and Pentecost), where the apostolic community is born. It is from the apostolic community that the Somascan community draws inspiration. The Somascan Spirituality, enlightened by the examples of our Founder, emphasizes some aspects of the apostolic community's life as the qualifying characteristics of the Somascan community: 1. devotion and constant prayer, 2. sharing in life and goods, 3. love for evangelical poverty, 4. industriousness, 5. fraternal love, that expresses itself a) in the humility of heart, b) in meekness and gentleness, c) in patience and endurance for the neighbor, d) in fraternal correction, e) in the observance of rules and obedience, f) in confirming each other in the love of God and neighbor, and in the works of Christ, g) in welcoming the brothers as a gift of grace; 6. sharing the responsibilities derived from the life of people who offered themselves to Christ and to the service of the poor, through dialogue, discernment, cooperation (Chapter, Listening). The Eucharist is the foundation and strength of vital cohesion of the Somascan community. By renewing the memorial of Christ's supreme love, the community •enters the logic of total self-giving and of commitment to witness, through visible deeds, the mystery that welcomes in faith . The life spent in the service of love ("to aid the orphans and widows") becomes pure and blameless worship before God the Father. The Somascan community, animated by the Spirit and nourished by the Eucharist, lives as a cell of the Church. With her, it aims at the sanctity of the times of the Apostles. By Her, it is sent to serve the least of Christ's brothers.
Home Ministry Somascan Spirituality Our founder Who we are Gallery Vocation Contact us Donate
© Copyright of Order of St.Jerome Aemilian,Inc.
Made by RZwebdesign 2015
The Somascan Spirituality is rooted in the whole of the Holy Spirit's experience lived by our Founder. This experience constitutes the canon, the "exemplary model." It develops itself in the experience of the early Servants of the Poor and of the following generations. It is our duty to intensively live it today. The fundamental codes of our Spirituality are: "The life of St. Jerome" by Anonymous (which can be defined as "the Gospel" of the Somascan Spirituality), the Letters of St. Jerome, the various texts of Constitutions and Rules, and the sources of our tradition. Today, the compendium of our Spirituality is present in the texts of our Constitutions and Rules. We have to admit that in the course of the centuries the Somascan Spirituality did lack systematic analyses and treatises. However; certainly it did not lack for richness of contents and fruitfulness. The Somascan Spirituality has "produced few halos," but many saints. Therefore, we would like to formulate a hypothesis of "reading" for the Somascan Spirituality, by highlightening the main ideas. The expression that is found in the Constitutions 1555: "operare l'opera del Signore" (to work the work of the Lord) can synthetically summarize the Spirituality of our Founder and his disciples, provided that the terms are not given a scaled down sense, but a full and pregnant one. The internal object (work of the Lord) qualifies the verb "operare" (to work) in a way that is deeply religious and spiritual. Even though "to work" maintains the dimension of concreteness specific of the human acting, which expresses itself in sensible deeds historically limited, it takes up the value of a sign. Its effectiveness goes well beyond the sphere of materiality and sensibility because the main agent is the Lord. The Somascan Spirituality leads on the road down from Jerusalem to Jericho and becomes concrete gestures of closeness, solidarity, gratuitousness, liberation, and salvation for human beings. However, it does not yield to the dangers of praxism, activism or neopelagianism because it is "Christ who is at work." In fact, those who live the Somascan Spirituality are humble mediation (instruments). As such, they let themselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit in the encounter with God. Love (the only thing necessary) and with the neighbor, loved as Christ loved him/her. Moreover, the Somascan Spirituality becomes vital synthesis between faith and love, love of God and love of neighbor, contemplation and action.
The Somascan Fathers continue the legacy of St. Jerome's commitment in serving the poor and taking care of the orphans and abandoned youth

4.

Contemplation of the Mother of God, as a Mystery of Lived Love

Mary is the icon of the Trinitarian love and the first fruit of the new mankind, resplendent with charity. The humble servant of the Lord teaches that loving is serving through her example of total, confident availability to God. In His turn, "God fills her with His love and accomplishes His greatest works in her. She becomes an example of prompt (cum festinatione), solicitous, active charity toward those in need. Her motherhood is the synthesis and expression of the utmost love of God, love toward God and love" toward the neighbor. At the feet of the cross, Mary's motherhood reaches out the whole mankind in pain and need to return to the Father. God pours in the heart of the Mother His ardent love for the poor and the orphans, and makes her Mother of all Graces, source of mercy, our trust, help for the orphans, j oy for the afflicted, and liberation for the oppressed. The Somascan Spirituality makes one feel the maternal love of Mary 1. as a liberation force which breaks the chains of slavery to evil and leads by hand on the way of freedom and love; 2. as a power of intercession which obtains for us a new, trusting, humble and meek heart, able to love God overall and the neighbor as oneself; 3. as a "sign" of God's very tender love for the orphan and needy; 4. as a "model" of our consecrated life . The humble servant of the Lord, the faithful Virgin, points out the way to realize in life the evangelical beatitudes and to aim at the perfection of the disciple of Christ-Servant
SOMASCANS SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES SOMASCAN FATHERS

1. Contemplation of the Father as a Mystery of "Active"

Love

"Only God is good" and is "the source of every good." He is always at work. His deeds are concrete and splendid interventions of love, which transform the history of the human events into the history of salvation (mirabilia Dei - the wonderful things of God) and reveal his fatherly face. The supreme deed, God's masterpiece, is the Crucified Jesus, the perfect icon of the Father's love. "God is love ... God's love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son to be the sacrifice.” Another deed of the Father is our adoption: in Christ we are really his children. "Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God's children; and that is what we are." The immersion in the active love of the Father triggers a spiritual dynamism which opens up: 1. to a great and absolute trust in God alone (faith and hope in Him alone); 2. to a filial confidence in the sweet and loving Father, great in love; 3. to an awareness that "there is no moment in which we do not enjoy divine love and mercy," united with an interior attitude of total availability to the demonstration of His love, which works great things in us . The faithfully preserved spirit of adoption nourishes filial relationship with the Father, who "wants to enlist us in the number of His beloved children and to make us holy." The Somascan Spirituality, therefore, develops itself in the daily life as an imitation of the perfection of the Father's love ("you must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect)" "be compassionate as your Father is compassionate") through concrete deeds of generous gratuitousness, which goes beyond discrimination and partiality. "The Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing: and whatever the Father does the Son does too." The Somascan Spirituality leads to believing in love, to dwelling in love in order to dwell in God and to be His dwelling. It returns the Father's active love with a filial love, based on deeds and truth rather than on words. It makes of us signs of the paternal love of God, who is refuge, help, support, advocate of the orphans and the poor. The primacy pertains to love, that is not meant as a mere human quality, but as a theological reality and as a participation in the life of God. For this reason the Somascan Spirituality leads to an intense and persevering prayer, as 1. a dialogue between the Father and His beloved children 2. a listening to His word, 3. a search of His will, 4. a petition for perfect love, deep humility and patience, in order to serve our brothers and sisters, light in order to discern the works the Father wills us to perform ("we need to seek the grace of working because faith without deeds is dead." The dynamism of the Somascan prayer is pointed out by the words of ST. Jerome: "we have to pray inuch, so that we may see and, by seeing, we may work."  

2.

Contemplation of the Crucified, as a mystery of

given love

The Somascan Spirituality emanates from the contemplation of the Crucified, as a Gospel of a love active "to the utmost." In the Crucified we discover the true face of the gather, who limitlessly loves in total gratuitousness, as well as the face of every human being who suffers, especially the face of the innocent, scarred by loneliness, discrimination, injustice, violence, etc. The Crucified is the utmost attestation that "to love is to serve." The dynamism of the Somascan Spirituality expresses itself in following "the way of the Crucified." Christ carrying the cross becomes the role model on the way of an active love, which takes upon oneself the wounds of the human suffering and heals them. First of all, we have to assimilate His own feelings, which urge us to take up the condition of servants 1. in the most complete solidarity with Christ and with the poor of Christ, by following "naked the naked Crucified," who, though rich, became poor in order to enrich mankind with His poverty, and by carrying "with oneself the only living faith in Christ" and "the friend poverty;" 2. in the most loyal availability to the Father's will through the total offering of oneself for one's brothers, by obeying till death on the cross as Christ did, by choosing "to live and die with" one's poor, "without binding oneself to any particular institution in order to follow the Lord's will in everything;" 3. in the most generous gratuitousness, which is to be the transparency of our most loved God the Father, by welcoming the initiative of the Father who pours His tenderness in our hearts, so that we may be able to welcome the orphans and needy as our Founder did: "no one better than he loved and served the Lord's poor despite their condition... , as the universal father of the poor." * Continuous Conversion The wounds of the Crucified and of the "crucified" brothers and sisters call for a continuous conversion. Once we have removed the blindness of selfishness, our eyes and hearts become able to see the sufferings of the least of the poor, and to love them as "those who best represent Christ." The Somascan Spirituality makes us live the conversion as the coming back to the love of the Father by journeying on the way of the active love for our brothers and sisters. ** Ascesis The Somascan ascetic journey winds after Christ who carries the cross. The old man with his inclinations opposed to the Spirit is crucified through the meditation of the word of God, prayer, fast, mortification of the senses, self-control and works of mercy, in order to give life to the new man ("temple of the Lord"), who, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, "fills up in his own flesh what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church." The new man, created in justice and holiness, is rooted in Christ, "stays with Christ." He "imitates his beloved Master Christ with all his strength" and from Him he learns 1. to be gentle and humble in heart, meek and benign with everybody, 2. to proclaim the Gospel to the poor, 3. to pass by and do good to everybody with "works" of liberation and promotion, 4. to be the good Samaritan who becomes neighbor to the needy, 5. to welcome the least of our brothers and sisters, 6. to practice the new commandment with concrete deeds (washing of the feet) of daily service. The new man seeks the beatitude of poverty and meekness, of purity of heart, of the practice of Jesus' example and of the joy of giving to Christ by serving the poor ("in so far as you did .this to one of the least of those brothers of mine, you did it to me." The new man is filled with burning desire to draw men and women to God.

3.

Contemplation of the Holy Spirit, as a Mystery of

Communion

The Somascan Spirituality expresses itself by being fully docile to the Spirit. It requires that one allow oneself to be internally shaped by Him, in order to become more and more similar to Christ, the Servant, and to become instruments in which Christ works. The Lord's Spirit spurs one on the way of peace and love. The docility to the Spirit leads to the communion as a participation in the mystery of the Trinitarian love and as a living strength which builds unity as a witness of faith and love in the service to the brothers and sisters. “As you are in me and I in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me." The Spirit of adoption, through which we are called and really are God's children, gather us together as brothers in the house of the only Father, and forms a new family of faith, where we love each other with the same love Christ loved us with, where we break the bread of unity, where we proclaim the kingdom of God by serving the poor. The Spirit of communion introduces us in the spiritual atmosphere of the Upper Room (washing of the feet, new commandment, Eucharist and Pentecost), where the apostolic community is born. It is from the apostolic community that the Somascan community draws inspiration. The Somascan Spirituality, enlightened by the examples of our Founder, emphasizes some aspects of the apostolic community's life as the qualifying characteristics of the Somascan community: 1. devotion and constant prayer, 2. sharing in life and goods, 3. love for evangelical poverty, 4. industriousness, 5. fraternal love, that expresses itself a) in the humility of heart, b) in meekness and gentleness, c) in patience and endurance for the neighbor, d) in fraternal correction, e) in the observance of rules and obedience, f) in confirming each other in the love of God and neighbor, and in the works of Christ, g) in welcoming the brothers as a gift of grace; 6. sharing the responsibilities derived from the life of people who offered themselves to Christ and to the service of the poor, through dialogue, discernment, cooperation (Chapter, Listening). The Eucharist is the foundation and strength of vital cohesion of the Somascan community. By renewing the memorial of Christ's supreme love, the community •enters the logic of total self-giving and of commitment to witness, through visible deeds, the mystery that welcomes in faith . The life spent in the service of love ("to aid the orphans and widows") becomes pure and blameless worship before God the Father. The Somascan community, animated by the Spirit and nourished by the Eucharist, lives as a cell of the Church. With her, it aims at the sanctity of the times of the Apostles. By Her, it is sent to serve the least of Christ's brothers.
© Copyright of Order of St.Jerome Aemilian,Inc.
Made by RZwebdesign 2015
The Somascan Fathers, taking care of orphans and abandoned youth
MENU

4.

Contemplation of the Mother of God, as a

Mystery of Lived Love

Mary is the icon of the Trinitarian love and the first fruit of the new mankind, resplendent with charity. The humble servant of the Lord teaches that loving is serving through her example of total, confident availability to God. In His turn, "God fills her with His love and accomplishes His greatest works in her. She becomes an example of prompt (cum festinatione), solicitous, active charity toward those in need. Her motherhood is the synthesis and expression of the utmost love of God, love toward God and love" toward the neighbor. At the feet of the cross, Mary's motherhood reaches out the whole mankind in pain and need to return to the Father. God pours in the heart of the Mother His ardent love for the poor and the orphans, and makes her Mother of all Graces, source of mercy, our trust, help for the orphans, j oy for the afflicted, and liberation for the oppressed. The Somascan Spirituality makes one feel the maternal love of Mary 1. as a liberation force which breaks the chains of slavery to evil and leads by hand on the way of freedom and love; 2. as a power of intercession which obtains for us a new, trusting, humble and meek heart, able to love God overall and the neighbor as oneself; 3. as a "sign" of God's very tender love for the orphan and needy; 4. as a "model" of our consecrated life . The humble servant of the Lord, the faithful Virgin, points out the way to realize in life the evangelical beatitudes and to aim at the perfection of the disciple of Christ-Servant