Originated by the Spirit to announce the Copiosa Apud Eum Redemptio


They [the Redemptorists] will never grow weary of invoking the Holy Spirit, so that they may always be able to co-operate more wholeheartedly in bringing the mystery of redemption in Christ to full effect. For the Spirit has command of every situation, puts the appropriate word on the lips of the preacher and opens hearts to receive it (Constitution 10).

288 years ago, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer was born as another Religious Institute in the Church. In the course of almost three centuries, many other missionary works have disappeared, fulfilling their project. However, the Congregation continues its journey through history with its cycles and setbacks. Why does it persist? Why has it survived the period of division? Why does it continue to restructure? And what can we expect from the Congregation for the future? Certainly, if it has come this far, it is because there is a divine force that nourishes it and leads it to respond to its charism. Thus, in the heart of the Congregation, the Holy Spirit is weaving his work and guiding it along paths that we certainly often do not understand.

In the history of salvation, it is the Spirit who brings newness, provokes, renews life, converts hearts (Ez 37:1-14; Joh 3:1-15). It is he who works on the realities of death, vivifying them and inspiring us to sing a new song of joy and hope to all nations, through the proclamation of the Word and service to the little ones. It is the loving and fruitful force of God present in history, acting through contextualized men and women who are able to grasp the subtleties of his voice. In this sense, Alphonsus feels it from the wounded context of his time. The wounds of the goatherds are transformed by the Spirit into a redemptive and healing project in favor of those who were in deep abandonment. Alfonso was bold and capable of capturing the movements present in the depths of history and perceiving the kairós in the reign of kronos, going to the essence of prophecy and the Jesuit ministry, synthesizing the foundational spirit in the beautiful text that we know well. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Lk 4:18f).

Thus, the missionary work thought up by Alphonsus is profoundly pneumatic, once he intuits it as a missionary project and unites it with the same Spirit that sends Jesus to the world and makes him the announcer of the Father’s work of redemption. In this sense, our saints, blessed and martyrs, each in their own way, were hermeneutics of the Spirit in allowing themselves to be provoked by Him and, at the same time, discerning His voice in the midst of the different voices of the world. Today this same Spirit is manifest in the Congregation in the different communities scattered throughout the world. Each Redemptorist community is a Cenacle where this Spirit is manifested and each confrere becomes a living flame sent to illuminate, with his missionary zeal, those dark places where the light of redemption has not yet abundantly reached. Each confrere is a gift of the Spirit to the Church and to the Congregation! This makes it possible for us to experience Pentecost and not Babel, which is the desire for the uniformity of charism [1].

In our Constitutions and Statutes, the presence of the Spirit is contemplated several times. It is He who vivifies of the love of the Father, master of events, gives the right word and opens hearts, is present in the heart of the community to form and sustain it, conforms the confreres to Christ by having the same sentiments that drive apostolic action through the variety of ministries. He is a guide and associates us with the mission of Christ. His action and strength make us reach out to total self-giving through the profession as a response of love. He is the life-giving force of the community and enables us to serve God in the Church and in the world, and he encourages the service of animation and leadership among the confreres in the search for the will of God. It helps superiors and other confreres to observe the Constitutions, Statutes, and other laws of the Congregation so that they can fulfill the will of God and the mission of Christ. He is the source of missionaries in the Church and by his manifestation, each confrere is called to take part in the government of the Congregation for the common good. He is the distributor of common gifts for the apostolate (Cf. 6, 10, 23, 25, 47, 56, 73, 74, 80, 92; Stat. 049) and finally, guided by him, we consecrate ourselves to follow closely Christ, the Savior of the world.

This same Spirit guides the Congregation in this process of restructuring for the mission. Gradually, in different ways and in the different cultures and contexts in which the Congregation is present, he evokes renewing, motivating, and charismatic responses to respond in an ever new way to the provocations of the Gospel. The Spirit is the great helmsman who guides this barge, driven by the energy of each confrere who, in different contexts and missionary work, makes it sail the seas of this world, to bring especially to those on the margins of the world a word of hope to heal their wounded hearts. The Spirit has not and will not abandon the Congregation, but the future depends on the openness of our hearts and minds to capture its provocations, to read them in our historical and cultural contexts and to be to us flames of strength, knowledge, counsel, wisdom, understanding, piety, fear of God so that we may, as at Pentecost, speak in all languages the language of the copious redemption.

Fr. Rogério Gomes, C.Ss.R.



[1] Cf. GOMES, Rogério. From Babel to Pentecost: Some meditations on the consecrated life. 

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