The Passion – the most overwhelming sign of God’s love for us – takes its foundational moment in the love of the Father for mankind. This deep love was matched entirely and completely in the love of Jesus expressed in his wholehearted and selfless obedience to the will of the Father. The fusion of this great love was seen most radically in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Passionists take a vow not just to live, but to promote ‘the living memory” of the Passion among people. We try to live daily life with the same openness to God’s will that Jesus lived in relationship to the Father.
This vow expresses the distinctive element of the Congregation. In St. Paul’s words, “I have been crucified with Christ. Yet, I live not I, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2:19-20) Jesus lived a self emptying (kenosis) and we are called to be a living witness to the gift of God’s love for us, Jesus. Living this means abandoning ourselves to the loving hand of God. This means we seek to be open to do God’s will, not just to know God’s will. The starting point for such abandonment to God is the overwhelming sense that God loves me. This knowledge can only be found in prayer – and thus St. Paul of the Cross wanted us to be teachers of prayer.
Thus our Passionist Charism encourages a “letting go” into the loving hands of God – even in suffering and tragic circumstances. This is the way to peace – believing and sharing with others St. Paul of the Cross’ teaching that whatever happens comes from the loving hand of God. We can promote this in our personal and pastoral presence to others, in preaching, through writing and spiritual direction, in retreats and parochial life.
[The Characteristics of the Passionist Charism No. 4, 2006]