II. Spirituality of the Fraternities
6. Nazarene Spirituality
The Spiritual dimension of all person finds in the free revelation of God, proper to the Christian faith, a call to enter in dialogue and communion with Him. The Nazarene spirituality underlines some features of the Christian life. It is a spirituality:
- Trinitarian, because the Holy Family cannot be understood without the reference to the Trinity of which it is a living icon.
- Family, because the Fraternity, gathering around the first nucleus constituted by Joseph and Mary with Jesus, learns communication and dialogue.
- Missionary, because all baptized is invited to form the family of God, the Church and to build up the Kingdom, as the family of Nazareth did.
7. Spirituality of the Fraternities
The spirituality of the Nazarene Fraternities, as the one of Brother Gabriel and the Brothers of the Holy Family, springs from the mystery of salvation revealed by God in Nazareth.
With the Brothers, the members of the Fraternities acknowledge the Holy Family as the most perfect realization on earth of the community of love that is the Most Blessed Trinity.
They strive to serve God and men, living the mystery of Christ in their lives of family together with Mary and Joseph.
They seek lovingly deepening more and more the mystery of salvation revealed at Nazareth. Their spirituality will always have as a reference point the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as “family”. They learn to meditate and live the Gospel in the light of the mystery of Nazareth, where Jesus began to fulfil what later he had to preach.
In brief, the Fraternities propose a way of faith that is travelled not individually but with other brothers and sisters; this way has:
- Living models of identification: the Holy Family of Nazareth and Brother Gabriel Taborin;
- A style of life: inspired in the spirit of family;
- A method of action: praying, working and loving as in the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, building up with others peace;
- A goal: to respond to the universal call to sanctity.
8. Profile of the Christian laity according to Br. Gabriel
From the writings of Brother Gabriel and his experience of life, we can draw up the profile of a Christian laity with the following characteristic features:
- A strong faith and in constant growth;
- A big sense of participation in the life of the parish and the Church;
- An intense life of prayer;
- A coherent Christian life in all its dimensions;
- A sanctity of life searched in the condition of life of every one;
- With a spirituality which finds its model and support in the humble home of Nazareth with Jesus, Mary and Joseph;
- Living the “spirit of family”;
- And with the generous availability to “all kind of good works” whose aim is the ecclesial communion and the human solidarity.
The members of the Association try to integrate these own features in the orientations that the Church is giving to all the lay faithful.
9. In the life of every day
The Nazarene spirituality animates and gives a particular meaning to the Christian life of the members of the Fraternities in all its aspects: ecclesial, family, professional, social and in the shared mission.
It is a spirituality of the daily life, a domestic spirituality, in which, following the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, sanctity is realised not by great works or great deeds, but by the fidelity to the daily responsibilities, assuming them with joy and simplicity of heart, serving the poorest and the least, and in the details that may go unnoticed.
The depth and the consistency of our spirituality are at stake in the self-donation in what God is asking here and now, day by day.
a) In Nazareth they prayed
10. Life of Prayer
The prayer is essential for the Christian existence and for the vitality of the Association.
It is also fit for the Association what Brother Gabriel said for the Institute of the Brothers of the Holy Family: “Prayer has been the cornerstone of our Institute; it will also be one of the strongest pillars to sustain it” (NG, p. xxviij).
Prayer leads to communion with God, intensifies the links among the members of the Association and unites all men.
The members of the Fraternities love and practice particularly the liturgical prayer.
In their love for the Eucharist, “source and summit of all Christian life” (LG 11), the members of the Association get inspiration in Brother Gabriel. For him the Eucharist has a primordial place in the Christian life and therefore it was a determining motive of his spiritual life and of the foundation of the Institute.
The Fraternities pay especial attention to the life of prayer and for that they encourage their members to personal and communitarian prayer. They try to offer a biblical formation that helps to find the living Word which questions, orients and moulds the existence of the Christian.
11. Frequenting Nazareth
The invitation of Brother Gabriel: “The heart of a Christian… should frequently stay under the humble roof of Nazareth” (NG 607), is a fundamental indication.
The mystery of Nazareth teaches us some essential dimensions of the Christian life:
- The new family of Jesus is larger than the natural one, because He himself opens it to all the disciples as children of the same Father.
- The Gospel is lived out before being proclaimed.
- The fraternity is built with the collaboration of all in an atmosphere of simplicity and normality.
- Contemplating Nazareth, we also learn how to collaborate in the construction of a more open and simple Church and of a more human, fair and fraternal society.
Some specific means to enter the mystery of Nazareth are:
- To live intensely the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas;
- To celebrate in a especial way the feast of the Holy Family;
- To have a meditated reading of the Word of God personally and in the Fraternity;
- To invoke frequently Jesus, Mary and Joseph;
To have the presence of the picture of the Holy Family in the place of the meeting of the Fraternity and in the home of each one of its members.
b) In Nazareth they worked
12. Witnesses and apostles
The Holy Spirit enriches with ever new gifts the Church, sent by Christ to be witness of the saving love of the Father.
The Fraternities share the gift aroused in the Church by the Holy Spirit through Brother Gabriel, and they help each one of their members to assume and live, according to this charism and the secular nature proper to the lay people, their mission of witnesses and evangelizers received in the baptism and confirmation.
Living the mission, they participate actively in the construction of the Kingdom of God, they grow spiritually and the vitality of the Association is increased.
All the members of the Fraternities live their vocation in the own condition of life, but trying to be a luminous reflection and a testimony of love, of communion, of co-responsibility and of dialogue, which are the peculiar features of the Holy Family of Nazareth and central points of the Taborinian Spirituality.
13. In the family
The family, domestic church, even in its situations of difficulty and frailty, is the first field of apostolate for every member of the Fraternities.
The parents are dedicated to the education of their children with the same love as Mary and Joseph with Jesus.
The children learn to grow, as Jesus, “in age, wisdom and grace before God and men” (Lk 2:52); they help the family to be an evangelical community which is also evangelizing by the testimony of its charity. In a plural world like today, it is necessary, together with the example and the Christian education, the respect for the freedom and otherness of the children.
The prayer in family helps “to create family” and to live fully the deep meaning of the “Our Father”.
Who are not living insert in a family nucleus, they have open the greater door of the family of the Church, which is specified some times in the parish. The Nazareth Fraternity is also for its members “home and family”.
14. At work
The work, in its human and Christian dimension, is a way of sanctity proper to the lay people. It is the mission of the lay person to live in the world, to work in it, to sanctify it and transform it according to the project of God.
The Holy Family is in Nazareth a model of industriousness. The members of the Fraternities find in it the Son of God, who with Mary and Joseph, “worked with the hands of man, thought with intelligence of man, loved with heart of man” (GS 22).
In Nazareth, through work, one learns to collaborate with the creator God to give to the world a more human and fraternal face, forming it with the values of the Gospel.
The members of the Fraternities can share in the activities of the mission of the Institute through different ways
15. In the Fraternity
The Fraternity, in which one is integrated, is another privileged field for living the mission.
Each one is interested in the life and work of the other members of the Fraternity.
With respect, kindness, love, discretion and generosity, they exchange help and support.
Mutually they seek to be aware of the own mission in the specific conditions of life of each one.
The testimony and prayer of the elder and sick members are taken into great consideration because they are associated to the redemptive fecundity of the cross of Christ.
16. In the Church
Like Brother Gabriel, the members of the Fraternities must be particularly sensitive to the needs of the local Church to which they belong (parish, diocese, ecclesial organism) and be available to collaborate in the animation of the liturgy, in the catechesis, in the projects of solidarity, etc.
It is opportune, however, to cultivate always, as Brother Gabriel also did, a missionary sensitivity, which may have several specific manifestations. The members of the Fraternities can participate in determined missionary activities in the works of the Institute.
17. In the society
In the social environment in which they live, the members of the Fraternities try to be witnesses of the Gospel, working with loyalty, the solidarity, the spirit of service and the strength that faith gives.
The apostolic charism of Brother Gabriel is open to “all kind of good works” in the social and ecclesial field. The Fraternity helps to discern the specific options that can be done concretely and accompanies the commitment of its members from prayer, encouragement and solicitude.
The formation of the young, the catechesis and the liturgy are object of particular attention and commitment.
c) In Nazareth they loved each other
18. Living the “family spirit”
With the Brothers of the Holy Family, the members of the Fraternities contribute to realize the Kingdom of God through the spirit proper to the Institute which is the “spirit of family”.
This spirit has a point of reference the vital links which brought together the members of the Holy Family of Nazareth and whose origin is in the divine Trinity.
Similarly that the Work incarnate carried out the perfect family union, so the Word of God will open the members of the Fraternities to the wholeness of peace through love, prayer and work to build up their Fraternity permanently.
The spirit of family which we are called to:
- Is principle of stability and unity for the Fraternities and for the Association;
- Animates the mutual relationships;
- Leads an especial attention towards the members of the Fraternities who are in difficulty and helps them with tact and gentleness;
- Creates a constant confidence in the dialogue;
- Characterizes the style of action of the members of the Fraternities and guides them in the mission;
- Helps to strengthen the links of solidarity;
- Is source of life and freedom;
- Invites to humility and simplicity of life and means.In words of Brother Gabriel:
“The spirit of body and the spirit of family contribute greatly, dear Brothers, to the happiness, prosperity and strength of a Religious Congregation. […] It gets its source from charity and, therefore, from God who is the charity itself. In a Congregation in which this spirit really exists, all the members that form it have but one heart and one soul; they love and help one another, share joys and sorrows, success and failures. Mutual attention and kind fraternity achieve the unity among the different spirits and characters. […] It is God who reigns over all of them. […] In such Corporation, peace, contentment and all the virtues are present” (Circular no. 21, July 2, 1864).