The Institute of the Incarnate Word, founded by Fr. Carlos Buela, is a young, missionary order. Our religious family is growing internationally, meaning that new things are constantly developing. This means that new things are constantly developing—we are taking new parishes, beginning foundations in new countries, launching new apostolates, opening new seminaries, starting novitiates in new places, the list goes on and on. As a result, we are always trying to adapt to the circumstances, and things can be crazy sometimes—you could have your bags packed to go to an assignment in Italy and end up being sent at the last minute to help start a new foundation in Russia (it has happened!). Another important note here is that because we have so much going on, our members work very hard—they are really trying to spend themselves in the service of Christ. Related to this, and also to the broad-based nature of our charism, is the fact that we really make use of our members to their maximum potential. Whether it is artistic or musical talent, intellectual ability, languages, construction experience, or anything else, we challenge our men to utilize their gifts to the utmost in the service of our wide range of missionary endeavors. All of this makes for excitement, but it takes an intense prayer life and a real spirit of self-sacrifice to sustain such intense apostolic activity. Of course, we also depend enormously on the prayer and penance of our contemplatives!
We are a faithful order—deeply committed to the Church and Her Magisterium—and we recognize that this means our men need to be Catholic in every aspect of their lives. It means that we need to be fully in accord with the Church in our philosophical understanding and in our theological formation. It means that we desire to have a truly Catholic zeal in our missionary activity, and that we really believe in the necessity of bringing the Catholic Church to people and places who don’t know Her—the missionary mandate. It likewise means that we have a deep desire to imitate Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, and so to be immolated—totally consumed—for love of Him. It means that we have a profound devotion to his Real Presence in the Most Holy Eucharist, and that we have a deep filial devotion to Our Blessed Mother (indeed, we all consecrate ourselves to her according to the method of St. Louis de Montfort).
We are a joyful order. We pray that we will always find this joy in the cross (gaudium in cruce) and never in spite of it, for in embracing our cross we are living in imitation of Our Lord. We know that Christ said that we must take up the cross in order to follow Him, and when doing so we can know most surely that we are following His divine example. We know, too, that cultivating a spirit of joy and camaraderie sometimes takes work, and we are prepared to do that for love of our brothers and for love of our community life, but most of all because we know that our vocation is a gift from God—a gift we should always rejoice over having been given. The spirit of joy, or mirth, is a very important part of our charism—it’s even in our Constitutions that we are to cultivate this virtue of eutrapalia, as Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas called it. We strive to do everything—from the smallest daily chores to the most important apostolates—with a light heart and a cheerful spirit. Indeed, people sometimes say they were surprised to see how quiet we are in church, given how loud we are at dinner!
We are a missionary order. “Missionary activity is nothing else and nothing less than an epiphany, or a manifesting of God’s decree, and its fulfillment in the world and in world history, in the course of which God, by means of mission, manifestly works out the history of salvation. By the preaching of the word and by the celebration of the sacraments, the center and summit of which is the most holy Eucharist, He brings about the presence of Christ, the author of salvation (Ad Gentes #9, Vatican II]).” We are convinced the world cannot be transformed apart from Christ and His Church. With the grace of God we seek to evangelize all men.
At its foundation, our mission has a two-fold characterization. On one hand, we seek the glory of God and the salvation of souls—our own and others—especially by practicing those virtues that make us participate more in the humbling of Christ himself. On the other hand, we commit all our strength to inculturate the Gospel, that is to say, to extend the Incarnation “to all men, in the whole man, and in all of the manifestations of man,”* in accordance with the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church. In order to effect this, we want to be rooted in Jesus Christ who has come in the flesh, and only in Christ, and always in Christ, and Christ in everything, and Christ in all, and all of Christ, because the Rock is Christ, “and no other foundation can any one lay.”** We want both to love and serve Jesus Christ; his Body (both His physical body in the Eucharist and His mystical body in the Church) as well as His Spirit, and to bring others to love and serve Him with us.
* IVE Constitutions
** 1 Cor 3:11