Sharing Redemptorists Spirituality
Workshop & Retreat Scheduled for October 19-22, 2017
By Rev. Greg May
Partners in Mission is the new phrase to describe people who are connected to Redemptorists in the various dimensions of our ministry: everything from supporting our ministry through prayer, financial donations, sharing the love of the Redeemer, bringing others to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and even working with Redemptorists in the explicit proclamation of the “Good News of the Gospel.”
The Redemptorists at the last General Chapter reaffirmed our desire to share our spirituality with the laity and to focus each region of the world on the task of inviting laity into our Redemptorist Charism. There is an administrative office or secretariat in the North American Conference which will be conducting its first workshop and retreat in Oconomowoc this October for this purpose.
I will be attending this gathering with Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer to see how we can partner to bring the Good News to our world. I would encourage anyone who is interested in our spirituality to contact their local Redemptorists and ask about future opportunities to become active Partners in Mission.
One level of Partners in Mission, (Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer) is dedicated to the laity who have chosen our spirituality as their own. It is much more than just helping Redemptorists in our life and ministry because they also embrace our spirituality, which is at the heart of their desire to restore people to good relationships with God and others. These Partners in Mission accept our spirituality and put it into practice. They also want to learn how redemption has been a part of the Church’s history and our Congregation, and participate in a program that guides them towards this end. The formation process helps them understand Jesus the Redeemer and also how the Redemptorists have made this spirituality real in our world and especially through the lives of the saints of our Congregation.
I have been a Redemptorist since 1983 and have come to realize that our spirituality/charism has a concrete way of approaching a particular relationship to God and others. This relationship is based on an understanding of Redemption that focuses on the restoration of people to God and others. Why is this important? There is so much division in our world. Individuals have become separated from one another and even from God, the source of life.
There are many reasons for these divisions: self-centeredness, greed, desire for power, addictions, ignorance of unconditional love, seeking pleasure above relationships, attitude of superiority, not seeing one’s self-worth, racism, not respecting human dignity, and on and on. These destructive behaviors destroy lives and prevent unity, peace and love from being realized.
How do people restore these relationships after a separation has taken place? God’s plan was to send Jesus into our world that we might be restored once again to God’s love and the unity between people. Jesus has shown us through his works, teachings, and the ultimate sacrifice of his life that God has always loved us and more importantly wants us to return. When people embrace this new reality of restoration by the Redeemer’s Love, they ultimately have to realize that this message and example of love have to be shared. We have been redeemed by a loving God who is able to continue this work by the way we seek God in our lives and share God’s merciful redemption with others. By following the example of the Redeemer, people embrace a spirituality that gives them a direction in life and ultimately a way that they can relate to God and those that they encounter in their daily lives.
This understanding of Redemption is at the heart of why Redemptorists are called by the Catholic Church to proclaim this Good News. I have dedicated my Redemptorist life to this end. But I also realize that others who are not professed members of my Congregation can benefit from this spirituality. We do not have exclusive rights on Jesus the Redeemer, though this is the focus of how Redemptorists imitate Jesus in our lives and through our outreach to the world.
Rev. Greg May, C.Ss.R., is the Rector at Liguori Mission House in Missouri. The Partnership in Mission workshop and retreat will be held at the Redemptorist Retreat Center in Oconomowoc, WI on October 19-22, 2017.