The vital core of the Sa-Fa Spirituality is the “family spirit”, as it was lived and presented by Brother Gabriel Taborin: “The spirit of body and of family 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 most different spirits and characters. What belongs to one belongs to all and among them the words ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ are not used. Each one considers himself less than his brother and it is God who reigns over all of them…” (Circular no. 21, IV, July 2, 1864).
The Sa-Fa Spirituality has as sources the same as all Christian life, with some proper features:
– The liturgy and the sacramental life, in particular the sacraments of the daily life of the Christian (Eucharist and Reconciliation) and the celebration of the Holy Family Feast.
– The Word of God, listened to and meditated on in the light of the mystery of Nazareth. The texts referring to the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, the gospels of the infancy of Christ, and those texts referring to fraternity and family in the Bible are also considered in great attention.
– The personal and community prayer, with the memory to the Holy Family and some common prayers (invocations to the Holy Family, songs, chants and prayers). There are also some symbols and objects created to express the spirituality (picture of the Holy Family, the Coat of Arms, etc.)
– The life and teaching of the Church, particularly those referring consecrated life, family, Christian education, catechesis, liturgy, etc.
– The life of Brother Gabriel Taborin (his charism, his writings) and the life of the Institute of the Brothers of the Holy Family and of the Sa-Fa Family (its history, places and cultures in which it lives and incarnates today).
The contents of the Sa-Fa Spirituality can be synthetized like this:
- The image of God. The focal point of the spirituality, which is the mystery of Nazareth, leads to see God in the community of love that is the Most Blessed Trinity. The relation between the Holy Family, the Divine Trinity and the Christian Community is essential.
- The mystery of Nazareth. The life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph forming a family at Nazareth reveals the family daily aspect of the mystery of incarnation. The mystery of Nazareth is in relation with all the other mysteries of the life of Christ (public life, death and resurrection) and of the Christian life.
- The Church as family of God. To the image of God-Trinity as family, corresponds the one of the Church as the family of the children of God. To live in the Church is to enter in relation with all its members and to contribute to its growth, until the moment of uniting all the children of God scattered.
- A look over the world. The Sa-Fa Spirituality leads to see the world as a place where the great family of God’s children dwells, where the Kingdom of God starts to be built, and to value the diversity of cultures.
- The Christian existence inspired by the mystery of Nazareth. The spiritual tradition of the Institute, contemplating the picture of the Holy Family, has synthesized the Christian life in these three dimensions:
In Nazareth they prayed.
- The life of work in the family of Nazareth inspires all the dimensions of work: home and professional activities, apostolate and mission and activities of solidarity. The mystery of Nazareth shows that incarnation consists in assuming progressively the human to transform it from within and to prepare for the announcement of the Gospel, and it encourages the hope to collaborate in the building up of the Kingdom of God.
In Nazareth they worked.
- The life of prayer of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at Nazareth invites to fidelity to the personal and community prayer and to the openness to God, by faith, in the midst of the worries of the life. It also invites to progress in familiarity in the relationships with God to live our condition of children of God (sons and daughters) which is expressed in the “Our Father”.
In Nazareth they love each other.
- The family life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph at Nazareth leads to live the great commandment of love in the relationship with God and in all the human relationships, from the nearest ambiences (family, community, group, parish) until the most extensive ones in the ecclesial and social relationships. The spirit of family, as a characteristic way of living charity, leads to weave relationships of family and fraternal kind in all the places where one lives and Works.
In the tradition of the Institute, to help living the spirit of family, it is maintained the expression of the so called “little virtues”. These are: Courtesy, affability and consideration, charitable overlooking of others’ faults, indulgence and patience, equableness of mood and holy joy, compassion and attentiveness in serving. Two essential means are proposed to cultivate them: “Suppleness of spirit”, that is, the ability to see something from someone else’s point of view, taking into account his age and mentality, not believing that one alone possesses the truth, always observing a sympathetic attitude towards others, keeping calm; and the other means: “Delicacy of heart”, meaning considerations and attentiveness, affability in dealing with others, trust and joy.
The Sa-Fa Family also counts on some methods and ways of work, lived and experienced throughout the time in the Institute of the Brothers of the Holy Family:
- The effort to live daily life in all its dimensions in the light of the “spirit of family”.
- The reading and meditation of the Word of God from the mystery of Nazareth.
- The interpretation and discernment of the signs of the times “with Nazarene eyes”.
- The building up of the Community (group, family) through the community meeting and the project of life.
- The formation according to the charism of the Institute, following the Guides of Formation.