Monks of the Brothers of the Cross - Nuns of the Sisters of Jesus Crucified Mary and Jesus Cross Lebanon Christian


SPEECH OF THE FOUNDER BROTHER ROUFAIL

Penance and call

After I returned repentant to the Lord Jesus, I began to know him so deeply that my love for him grew stronger and stronger in my yearning for holiness. I burnt with keen desire to make him known, loved, honored and worshiped by all.

Aware that our world is in need not merely of more physicians, soldiers, politicians, parents and artists, but also of apostles of love and peace, for “The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few” (Luke 10/2), under the guidance of God the Holy Spirit I felt developing within me the wish to devote myself entirely to him. After I categorically rejected the call to a monastic life, believing that I was called to holiness by combining the two holy states of priesthood and marriage, I cherished this idea until I realized that marriage divides the man between satisfying both God and his wife at the same time despite his desire for holiness. (1Cor 7/33)

Evolution of a vocation

I was unable to find my own vocation in one of the religious orders of the Eastern Church, and I was about to lose our noble Eastern patrimony by joining an order derived from Saint Francis of Assisi. Being passionately attached to the Eastern spirituality and believing that Western spirituality cannot be excluded from the Church and is, therefore, imprinted in our spirituality and our monastic prayers, I wished to answer the Church’s call for fidelity to our sources by living the Gospel as Lord Jesus and his apostles did in the East, where by destiny I had grown up. Divine Providence willed me to find my vocation with two brothers sharing this opinion within a religious order combining both spiritualities, the ancestral Eastern monastic spirituality and the apostolic Franciscan Western one, with the East as the source of all methods and means of religious life.
My decision was made on February 11, 1986, on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Special vocation

I realized that the apostle should imitate his Divine Master by his detachment from the passing goods of this world and from any dependence on human means, entirely devoting himself to the salvation of souls, without money, food, staff, raiment, or baggage, so that he may rely on God alone.

Also he should be united to him in his meditation in the wilderness, identifying himself with the crucified Jesus so that he may become an example to souls by his patience and by his persevering love to God. This is what God wanted from certain souls and religious orders in the Church. Further, the Brothers of the Cross and the Sisters of Jesus Crucified are one of the orders called for realizing that design in a special spirituality with particular qualities. The Holy Spirit operates in everyone: “If they all were one member, where would be the body?” (1Cor.12 /19)

WHO ARE THEY?

The magnificence of the religious life

The life of devotion lies in the heart of the Church, and is, therefore, an indivisible part of its message, in that it makes us sense the Christian vocation in its intrinsic nature(1), “as a bride adorned for her husband” (Apocalypse 21/3), following the pure and poor Christ and seeing him as the center of our lives. Looking constantly for God, in fear and love, the Brothers and Sisters found in their theological reading of the Holy Bible a source for their spiritual life, relied on it and answered their personal vocation by following the obedient, the pure and the poor Christ, becoming his disciples and identifying themselves with him by sharing his destiny. They first followed his style of meditation and prayer on the mountain and then his way of reviving the bonds of brotherhood, in order to carry a message motivated by a dynamic relationship with him and its fruits, and the need felt to carry it to others and concretize it with and among them(2).

Twofold religious life

The founder intended now to focus on the principle on which Eastern monastic life
was founded from the outset, the dichotomy of a life both contemplative and apostolic. According to the historians, the monks of Saint Maroun’s Monastery were devoted not only to asceticism, but also to the practice of the apostolate, being equally concerned with the salvation of others . They gave spiritual advice while practicing monastic vows, in a radical evangelical poverty with total reliance on Providence. This is how both the Brothers of the Cross and the Sisters of Jesus Crucified have lived in line with the immaculate heart of Mary.

The name

a- Brothers and Sisters

The designation of both orders confirms their choice of a life of simplicity as one family without any discrimination according to degree of holiness, of learning, of responsibility or of authority. Brothers warmly counsel each other and accept from one another, as Christ “who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2 / 7-6)

b- Jesus

The order of Sisters was named after Jesus because for his sake they left everything and followed him. He is “The word was made flesh” (John 1/14) Emmanuel, and so by this name is worshipped.

c- The Cross and the Crucified

Both religious orders have added to the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience two further vows of humility and suffering, so as to be close to the crucified Jesus and to share in the mystery of redemption, feeling for the poor in their deprivation.

d- From the Immaculate heart of Mary

They do everything through her and present everything to her, in tribute to her and so to the Eternal Father, by the merits of the Redeeming Son and through the Holy Spirit. They also offer their life, devotion, worship, monastic state and apostolic activity according to the intentions of Mary’s Immaculate Heart.

Purpose and its necessity

Following their chosen way and the essence of their vocation, the Brothers of the Cross and the Sisters of Jesus Crucified ask Mary‘s Immaculate heart for the evangelical apostolate they live without focusing on its outcome, such as social services, regarded as unimportant compared to their own vocation. They are committed to:

1- The imitation of Christ
They follow Christ closely; “ We all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory” ( 2 Cor 3/18) because their entire existence aims at doing God’s will, tirelessly achieving perfection and holiness, and passionately living the most transcendent commandments in the unity with God and his love; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength and thou shalt love thy neighbour (even your Samaritan enemy) as thyself.” (Mark 12 / 30 – 31)

2- Spreading the spirit of faith and trust in Providence through their pattern of life and daily work, refraining from owning property but subsisting in many ways as the poor do and leading a life of poverty and simplicity.

3- Contemplation of God‘s wisdom and submission to faith: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor 3/19) and regarding every happening in our daily life, hard and painful though it may be, as coming from Satan by permission of God as Job did (Job 1 /) and from people such as Pilate, Caiphas and Judas, as it is “a chalice of the Lord.”. (1 Cor 10/20 )


1- Pope John Paul II, The Consecrated Life, 25th of March 1996, paragraph 3.
2- Maronite Council, text 8, paragraph 24
3- Maronite Council, the previous reference, paragraph 3
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