What gives life meaning to you, inspires you to keep on living, makes life worthwhile for you? What gives you that fire to get up every morning or even at night when you don’t want to but need to? What gives you the motivation to do the little things and face the big things in life? That is what a charism is, a gift from God that enables us to make sense out of life and motivates us to live life fully. A charism touches the very core of our existence and colors everything that we do as human beings. It allows us to see things in new ways, and to understand them even more wonderfully. We absorb a charism as we absorb sunshine, and we radiate a charism as a light pierces the darkness.
The Passionist Charism has many symbols but only one reality: the Paschal Mystery. It is the dying and rising of Jesus the Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary. It is the willingness to be faithful to one’s mission in life, even to the point of death. It is the tremendous leap of faith that enables us to believe that suffering and death can be redemptive, our path to everlasting life. It is the acknowledgement that there is no greater love on earth than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. It is the most profound mystery of our lives, one truth but many facets.
The Passionist Charism is often expressed by using the words of the Apostle Paul: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.” (1 Cor. 1:17). Thus the Passionist Charism calls us to proclaim Christ and Him Crucified!
We find life and meaning in the Cross of Christ Crucified. The Crucified Christ becomes our constant companion on our journey of faith. We pause along our way to reflect and meditate upon this Divine Mystery, we take time to celebrate it in Word and Sacrament, we give our lives, especially to those who are powerless, the crucified ones of today. We know its healing power because we too are in need of its saving grace.
What Passionists say about the Charism
Fr Tiernan Doherty CP.
Being ordained on the feast of St Thomas, the placing of this Apostle’s hand into the side of Christ from the sacred scriptures has stayed, grown and governed my spirituality as a religious and priest for the last 30 years. It is our contemplation on the Passion of Jesus that invites us to place our hand into the suffering body of Christ now and today in his redeemed community of God’s people. Our constitutions tell us that faithfulness to this contemplation enables us to show forth the Father’ s love more fully(no5) and it ensures our reaching out is a true compassion filled with faith and as such becomes a gift.
If we touch people’s wounds with true compassion born out of contemplation their wounds do not just turn to scars of hopelessness but rather bright ruby gems that glisten like the wounds placed in the Paschal candle at the Easter Vigil. Passionists like to see ministry as a two way stream where we find ourselves simultaneously ministered too; so often in pastoral experiences we then become Wounded Healers.
The white sign on our black habits not only mourns the Passion, but it speaks to the ‘brilliant brightness’ of resurrected love to a broken ‘dark’ world that needs to be awakened by a loving hand to its already redeemed truth.
Fr Peter Addicoat CP.
The sign of the Passionist is the crucified heart of Jesus. The sign of the Passionist charism is the meeting of these hearts in a community of compassion. A charism is not a thing, a static gift. It is the gift of a relationship, a coming together in the presence of the crucified Christ.
For a charism to exist it must find expression in daily activity. Whether we are married or single, or live as a professes religious in community we share together the Passionist charism when we gather for prayer, review of life, Passionist Companions meetings or Passionist Family Group activities. I believe God is calling people to become Passionists. It must be so if our charism is true. Does your heart respond to the crucified heart of Jesus? Are you called to become a member of a Passionist community, a community of compassion?