Charism of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word
by Mother M. Angelica
(October 8, 1991)
I. Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation (Mk 16:15). With this command, Jesus, the Eternal Word, commissioned His followers to be missionaries of the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). This commission extends to the whole Church … and the work of evangelization is a basic duty of the People of God (Ad Gentes, 35). Of prime importance, though not preeminent or exclusive, this commission is entrusted to Religious as being the most effective means for evangelization (Evangelii Nutuandi, 63). Pope Paul VI comments further that Religious embody the Church in her desire to give herself completely to the radical demand of the Beatitudes. By their lives they are a sign of total availability to God, the Church and the brethren.
II. The [Franciscan] Missionaries of the Eternal Word, by the grace of God and with the assistance of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi, will generously respond to our Lord’s command. The Community will primarily fulfill this mission by evangelizing Catholics who have left the Church. Pope Paul again comments: Today there is a very large number of baptized persons who … have not formally renounced their Baptism but who are entirely indifferent to it and not living in accord with it (Evangelii Nutuandi, 56). [Franciscan] Missionaries of the Eternal Word will strive to defend and explain the beauty and truth of the Catholic Faith to those who have left the “harbor of Truth” for whatever reason
III. Such a mission requires support or pillars. Our two pillars are the Eucharist and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the mantle of the Magisterium of the Church. From the Eucharist we will draw from the fountain our strength, perseverance and inspiration. We will lead others back to Jesus, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament, for He alone can lead us to the Father. Our Blessed Lady, Mother of the Eternal Word, is the surest and safest means to Jesus. She is the cause of our salvation. She, who brought the Truth into our world, longs to do so again into the hearts of men, especially in those who have wandered from the pillar and bulwark of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15). With these pillars and the continual assistance of St. Francis, we pray that we will bring countless souls back to Jesus, our Lord and God!
Mother M. Angelica’s Letter to the Friars
(June 13, 1991)
IV. In his Infinite Goodness, the Eternal Father has granted you the grace and opportunity to imitate his Divine Son in bringing back the stray sheep and in serving them in every spiritual need, by direction, teaching, retreats, radio, television and the printed word. Through the power of the Spirit, prayer and the contemplation of the Scriptures you will find the necessary grace and gifts to fulfill your mission of ever looking for the stray sheep, whose needs you will lovingly fulfill with great solicitude. You will look after the faithful sheep in the fold, who will be most dear to your hearts because, through the power of the Spirit, you will mold them into the image of Jesus. You will direct their souls as the Spirit leads them to that degree of holiness destined for them from all eternity, ever keeping in mind the statement: What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self (Luke 9:25)?
V. Prayer, contemplation, virtue and high morals must be more than just a direction for others to pursue. These qualities must be deeply rooted in your own hearts for you cannot give what you do not possess. The adoration of the Holy Eucharist and devotion to Our Lady, St. Francis and St. Louis De Montfort are very special trademarks of this Community. It is necessary, therefore, to seek always humility of heart, knowing that although we labor, God alone bears the fruit. Because of your deep awareness of the vast difference between creature and Creator and how His mercy drew you from nothingness into the bosom of the Father, you must have indefatigable zeal that His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.
VI. It is every brother’s goal to reach that transformation of the soul into Jesus as described so beautifully in 2 Cor. 3:18, And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord Who is Spirit. Knowing that in this valley of tears we are in need of friends in heaven and on earth to encourage us on our way, let the Holy Angels, these first defenders of truth, be your special companions on your journey home. May their love encourage you, their power protect you and their zeal be a source of edification when your will falters and your faith weakens.
VII. I ask that Mary, Help of Christians, ever be your guide as you strive to bring the stray sheep back home and encourage the faithful ones ever onward to the heights of holiness. In order for you to be imbued with the Spirit of St. Francis it is well for you to read his Rule. Though it is not binding and the words seem strange, remember, we also have Saracens in our age — those who wish to destroy the faith by teaching error of every kind. Look for the Spirit of this humble and holy man and your own Constitutions will become alive with that spirit.