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


SPIRITUALITY AND CHARACTERISTICS

The Gospel is the root and source from which both orders, the Brothers of the Cross and the Sisters of Jesus Crucified, drew their inspiration, through a strong monastic community life similar to Jesus’ contemplation in the wilderness, and according to the common life as founded by Saint Pachomius, who laid down a Rule while preserving, however, the ascetic individual aspect, one of their important ascetic features (Maronite Council, 2006) and an apostolic life similar to Jesus’ message of poverty. The brothers and sisters commit themselves more to an ascetic life than to an apostolic one, as a source of strength for persevering in their spiritual life.

1-Devotion to Catholic teaching: they completely observe the faith as taught by the mother Catholic Church, literally applying Saint Paul‘s words: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.” (Gal. 1/8) They strenuously and continuously strive to know God deeply and thoroughly. The pillars of faith and teaching are five: The Gospel, the apostolic tradition, the tradition of the Fathers, the decisions of the councils, and the Christian teachings of the Catholic Church (issued by Pope John Paul II and Council of Bishops of the world on October 11, 1992) plus the liturgy.

2- Obedience to the Church: they submit to the authority of the Church hierarchy. Although both orders may become pontifical, they will not withdraw from obedience to the local authority.

3- Constant adoration of God present in the Holy Eucharist: they continuously offer worship in their monasteries, and strive to assure it in each diocese where they are called for the apostolate.

4- Striving to spread the true devotion to the Blessed Virgin: by knowing her, imitating her virtues, identifying themselves with her, they spread devotion to her Immaculate Heart insisting on recitation of the rosary.

5-Prayer: they recite in common the seven traditional Hours of the Office, and get up at midnight to pray, using the rich and varied liturgy of many rites and the legacy left by the Holy Fathers of the Church they belong to, with also meditation and individual prayer, more specifically, recitation of the rosary and other devotions.

6- Common life: like the Holy Trinity and as an interdependent family, they strive to live a common life, with unity in faith, in creed, in thought, in heart, in spirituality and in one monastic tradition.

7- Living the evangelical virtues: they do so by taking the five vows (obedience, poverty, chastity, humility and sharing the mystery of Redemption) with simplicity and transparency, as understood by the Church, taught by the Fathers and lived by the holy monks.

8- Vow of humility: they learn this from the example of the Son of God who claims to be “ the Son of man” ( Mat. 18 / 20 ), meditating on how he was conceived in Mary’s womb, after “he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid” ( Luke 1/48 ), constantly admitting they are “unprofitable servants” ( Luke 17/10) and claiming to be “the disciples of Mary and the Cross” even if the brothers themselves are priests or teachers or theologians, giving preference to remain brothers rather than priests, lambs rather than shepherds, sons rather than fathers, subordinates rather than heads, servants rather masters. They do not wish to obtain high and eminent positions of any type whatsoever. The greatest virtue the Order is attached to is the genuine virtue of humility, because it is the principle and buttress of the remaining vows and the veil of all spiritual virtues and apostolic deeds, without which the good works of the monks are valueless before God.

9- Vow of suffering: they carry the Cross and share the Redemption mystery which expressly binds them to unite the three vows with the Cross, and this helps them not to forget it. Self-denial shall be achieved through fatigue because work is one of the first of God’s commandments (Genesis 3/17) and they regard the Cross as their great master and constant refuge.

10- Poverty and simplicity: they lead a simple family rural life, along with hardships and severity. Thus, they serve themselves without being served by any servant, wash their clothes with their own hands, light fires with wood, acquiring and using only traditional tools and lighting.

11- Ora et labora (Saint Benedict): they carry on handy craft, including work on the land which is binding on everyone without discrimination, regarding it as one of the elements of the monks’ plan of repentance. In this way, they combine prayer with work.

12- Relying absolutely on Providence and not on worldly resources for health and subsistence, so that people may know that “It is the Spirit that quickneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are spirit and life” (John 6/ 64). From the livelihood point of view, so people may learn how to rely on God’s care as the Lord Jesus said: “Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself” (Mat. 6/34) From the ownership point of view, so that people hold on to God above all “For we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come.” (Heb 13/14).

13- Absolute benevolence: this they apply in all their works. They earn no salary in return for a service of any type whatsoever, so as to teach people the love of giving and free service.

14- Not carrying or using money: this is so that people can learn detachment from it and never to hold on to it “For the desire of money is the root of all evils” (1 Tim 6/10). Donations shall be handed over to poor people, through members of ICTUS secular association relevant to the Order, in a loyal way under the bursar monk‘s control.

15- ICTUS and MARAN ATHA associations from Mary‘s Immaculate Heart: both founded by Brother Roufail Purposes:

- The first: so that both orders can preserve their whole Rule and spirituality and dedicate themselves to the message of prayer, to serving the word as the apostles and seven deacons did ( Act of Apost 1/ 6 )
- The second: to contribute in accomplishing the genuine evangelical apostolate, and to take part in the Church’s task of serving and saving souls as one of the Church associations.

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