The charism of the Oblates of St Joseph asks you to reproduce in your life and apostolate the ideal of service lived by the Guardian of the Redeemer. It is this simple, hard-working lifestyle that you intend to follow.Blessed Marello urged his spiritual sons to be hermits at home in order to be effective apostles away from home. This teaching, ever alive in your spirit, commits you all to maintaining an atmosphere of recollection and prayer in your religious houses, fostered by silence and appropriate community meetings. May your family spirit strengthen the unity of your communities and of the entire congregation.
St. John Paull II
on his visit to the Casa Madre of the OSJ
Asti, Italy, September 25, 1993
revisiting the fundamentals of our josephite-marellian spirituality and charism
Excerpts from the article written by Rev. Fr. Maximo A. Sevilla, Jr., OSJ,
published in The Marellian Today, June 2020 edition
Excerpts from the article written by
Rev. Fr. Maximo A. Sevilla, Jr., OSJ,
published in The Marellian Today, June 2020 edition
Spirituality and apostolic charisms are intimately related and even inseparable. One cannot talk about the apostolic charism of a founder as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church in response to a certain need of the time without taking into account his spirituality from which the impulse or inspiration to embark on a mission finds its source.
In founding the Congregation, the original intention of our founder was above all to form disciples of Christ by imitating the poor, obscure, hidden, and silently active life of St. Joseph. The Congregation is originally intended to become a school of St. Joseph’s spirituality of
hiddenness whose mission is to form first and foremost true disciples of Christ.
Moreover, from our founder’s spirituality of hidden life flows his apostolic charism, which is encapsulated in his oft-repeated exhortation of
taking care of the interests of Jesus. It is through this spirituality of hiddenness that each of us, Oblates of St. Joseph, is formed to be who we are, which is, at the same time, the source and foundation of all that we do. Without this foundation, we cannot truly carry out our apostolic charism, which is inspired by St. Joseph's total dedication to the
interests of Jesus.
These two-fold charisms are enshrined in Articles 3 and 4 of our Constitutions. Article 3 speaks of our spiritual charism quoting Letter 108 of our founder, while Article 4 speaks of our apostolic charism. Article 4 says,
In the apostolate of the Oblates, St. Joseph shall be ‘the exemplar in their ministry, which like his, is a ministry of intimate relationship with the Divine Word’ (Letter 37). From him, they will learn 'to serve the interests of Jesus' (Letter 83) in the Church. With him, they will carry out ‘whatever Divine Providence points out to them from time to time’ (Rules 1892), open to the signs of the times with special attention to the different forms of poverty, both in the people or in the places most in need.
First, the spirituality of hidden life means giving primacy to one’s interior life. In the mind of our founder, St. Joseph is the
guide and master of spiritual life, the sublime model of interior and hidden life (Marello, Insegnamenti, 2017) and from whom we should learn a deep familiarity and an
intimate union with the Divine Word (Lettera 37). Our founder found in St. Joseph a synthesis and a deep harmony between the interior and active life. The guardian of the Redeemer, while having the privilege of constant communion with the Divine Word, also lived a very active life in support of the most precious gifts that God the Father entrusted to him‐Jesus and Mary. He dedicated his entire life to the service of
the interests of Jesus. Hence, St. Joseph’s
intimate union with the Divine Word and his dedication
to the interests of Jesus is a perfect model of a contemplative-active life.
Second, the spirituality of hidden life cultivates the value of silence, which is indispensable to a healthy interior life and the virtues of humility, simplicity, and hard work, which are the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Hence, the spirituality of hidden life should be able to form silent, humble, hard workers for the service of the Church in building the Kingdom of God. In their apostolate and ministry, therefore, the Oblates do not call attention or seek applause or recognition from people, more so, they should not expect rewards or compensation for the service they offer. The gem of Josephite spirituality of hiddenness is to have an attitude of not caring about status or recognition but to place service over and above it. In St. Joseph, we find that his only concern is to care for the interests of Jesus and not his own interests. To allow Jesus to shine more brightly, he silently receded to the background. Our founder used to say that
good does not make any noise and noise does not make any good. With this maxim, he shows that a good action loses its substance and value when it is accompanied by drumbeating that calls others’ attention.
Our Josephite-Marellian spirituality of hiddenness shapes our being and our commitment to take care of the interests of Jesus.
To serve well the interests of Jesus, we are called to a continuous process of conversion that requires discernment and openness to the Holy Spirit, which leads us and makes all our efforts fruitful. It requires our readiness to leave behind values and even eradicating subcultures in our communities, which are contrary to our religious consecration as Oblates of St. Joseph. On the other hand, it means cultivating in us the so-called CARE values, namely: communion, availability, responsibility, and encounter in all our missionary activities. They are themselves core values, or we might call hallmarks of our Josephite-Marellian spirituality of service as they have been lived as a living tradition of our Oblate family.