What is a charism?
Every Religious Community raised up by God has a special gift to give to its age and the ages to come. Jesus Christ, as the Lord of history, disposes all things in Divine Providence, through the Holy Spirit, that they may be taken up into Himself and given back to the Father at the end of time.
The Father Himself gives gifts to bring this about. The gift He gives is always the gift of His Beloved Son. Therefore the gift that every religious community has to give is always a gift of Jesus Christ. This can be seen in the history of the Church from its beginnings.
In the time of Saint Benedict, when corruption was rampant in Rome, Our heavenly Father gave to the world the gift of the prayer and work of Christ through the founding of monastic communities under St. Benedict and his sister St. Scholastica. This transformed the Church and the culture of its time, reaching into areas of art and literature and effecting great change.
In the time of St. Francis, when the Church was being choked by riches, God our Father renewed the Church with the poverty of Christ through St. Francis and St. Clare and the founding of the Franciscan order. This gift of Christ reanimated the Church and revived the life and missionary activity of its people, leavening the thought and the culture of the age. It continues to enrich the Church and the world today.
In order to stem the tide of heresies in his day, St. Dominic gifted the Church and world again with the preaching of Christ. This gift of teaching and preaching has flourished for centuries through the Dominican order.
St. Ignatius of Loyola brought the power of the name of Jesus to bear upon the developments of his time in the wake of the Protestant Reformation and the great need for evangelization and missionary activity. From this was born one of the greatest orders of the Church, the Society of Jesus, or, the Jesuits.
St. Alphonsus Liguori renewed the Church by drawing attention to the gift of the Redemption won by Christ to which the Redemptorist and Redemptoristine Orders have dedicated their works and their lives now for hundreds of years. Some of the greatest mission preachers, whose main object is to awaken people to graces of conversion, have been Redemptorist Priests.
St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, in their reform of the Carmelite order, reminded the Church of the need to place God before all else. God alone. This answered and still answers today the deepest interior yearning of the human heart.
All of these Saints and Founders, and many more, were responsible for helping to heal and renew the Church and the world of their times. They were the ones chosen by God, to bring true and salvific change into the world through their holiness and the fulfillment of the great tasks entrusted to them. These Founders saw, in the signs of their own times, the needs that were present. They were given a vision by our heavenly Father and led by the Holy Spirit to reach to those needs, especially through the establishment of communities dedicated to the same vision, communities who continue to fulfill the work of Christ and His Church down through the ages of time.
It is in this light that one must look at the birth of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. And it is in this same light that one must look at the Founder, Fr. James Flanagan, who was prepared beforehand and raised up by God to serve the very great needs of the Church in our day with the unique gifts of Christ and Our Lady, especially in their Trinitarian life.
What is the gift Our Father gives to the Church and the world today through Our Lady’s Society? It is the mystery of Trinitarian love expressed in the self-sacrificing gift of Jesus in His Paschal Mystery: His Life, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection and Ascension.
Charism of Communion: Healing Broken Relationships
In the wake of the traumatic world events of the last century and the disintegration of relationships at all levels, it is the total love, the complete gift Jesus makes of Himself in the Mystery of His Incarnation and Redemption, which restores us to communion again with Our Father and heals the divisions that are found within ourselves and with others. This gift heals the isolation and alienation that modern man experiences within himself and brings him to the destiny for which he was created: communion with the Most Holy Trinity and with all others, as one Family of Our Father.
Our Lady as Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, lives this communion of relationship with God more deeply than anyone else, and as Our Mother, she seeks to share these relationships with all of us. She desires to draw us into the very communion of love with the Most Holy Trinity that she herself lives. We have been created for this.
The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity lives a Marian-Trinitarian spirituality of communion which is arrived at through discipleship of Jesus and Mary. Members seek to draw all others into this communion through the living out of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ in His own Trinitarian relationships, just as Our Lady did. Day to day the members of Our Lady’s Society strive to live graced friendships and obedience of relationships; they strive to model in concrete form Trinitarian relationships and the spirit of family through a common life and spirituality and through serving together as priests, religious, and laity, on Family Ecclesial Teams.