GOSPEL + RULE + COMMUNITY
THE CHARISM & SPIRITUALITY
OF THE CANONS REGULAR THE ORDER OF ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
Summary of our Spiritual Life: Call, Charism, Canon
We believe that the Call of Jesus Christ is fundamental to our Life and Work.
All mission derives from the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Those Jesus calls to Himself he also sends out on Mission. The apostolic ministry was a ministry that was formed as a direct response to an encounter with Jesus Christ. It is the revelation of Christ that serves as the fuel for missionary zeal. As the Disciples went forth to preach the Gospel, they did not merely provide a summary of theological truths to those to whom they preached; it was the reality of their experience of Jesus Christ, what they had seen and heard, what they had witnessed and experienced, that set the world aflame. True Mission originates within the heart of God and can be carried forth only by those who have experienced our Risen Lord Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore to be sent in Mission is the inevitable response that comes from being called to Christ.
The spirituality of St. Norbert provides the model for our spiritual Charism.
The Norbertine focus on the Evangelica Institutio, the Apostolica Institutio, and the Regula Sancti Augustini frames the life of the Order as consisting of the Gospel, the Community, and the Rule.
This vision of the religious life, with its three-fold focus on Gospel, Community, and Rule, provides a path for lifelong conversion (Gospel), heartfelt devotion (Rule), and loving service (Community).
Thus, aspects of our spiritual life which flow from this Charism include: Communal Life (through a shared spirituality); Divine Presence (through Service, Prayer and Sacramental Life); Church planting (through both Ministry and mentoring); Catholicity (through Liturgical, Sacramental, and Pastoral engagement with the Catholic Tradition); and Spiritual Formation (through Pastoral care, mentoring, and education).
As those committed to religious life, we live under a Rule of Life.
Our rule is intended to cultivate a common Catholic spirituality among members of the Order and to bring Spiritual growth to our members.
Our Rule of Life calls us to a life of Devotion which is marked by: Eucharistic reception and devotion; The Daily Office; Continual Conversion through Theological Study; Hospitality to the Church and the World; Obedience to those over us in the Lord; Penance for ourselves and others; and Mission and Apostolic Service.
Our Lord, our Patron, and our Spirituality Fathers
Those in the Order of Saint Michael the Archangel should seek to model their life and their own Spirituality after those who have given us the model for such a life.
First of all, we seek to follow the example of our Lord, who never ceased to be in constant communion with the Father and was yet active in his earthly ministry and was surrounded by his Disciples.
Secondarily, our life is modeled after the early Christian community, where the Apostles were surrounded by the Faithful of the Early Church. The Apostles were consecrated to God and prayed constantly to our Lord, and yet they were involved in ministry – proclaiming the Gospel to all and healing those around them.
St. Michael, the Patron of our Order, shows us this life as well, for he is consecrated to God as an Archangel, set before the presence of the Almighty in adoration – and yet he is active in ministry, defending the People of God throughout the universe.
St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, lived in community with his Priests; they offered the Prayer of the Church together and worshiped God as a community – yet, they were sent out to engage in ministry among all of Christ’s Flock in the region.
St. Norbert, founder of the Canons regular of Prémontré (the Premonstratensians or Norbertines), intentionally set forth the life and spirituality of the Canons Regular, a life of both contemplation and active ministry.
These Saints of God, and the many who have followed their way of life, have shaped the Spirituality of the Canons Regular, and so they serve as a model for how we shape our Spirituality, both as individuals and as an Order.
Aspects of Formation within the Order
Foundations of Formation within the Order
The Foundations of Spiritual Formation within the Order begin with a Christian Identity. Without faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as God made Man, one cannot hope to form a genuine Christian Spirituality.
It is required, therefore, that those who hope to be members within the Order adhere to the Faith as expressed in the Nicene Creed.
Throughout the Program of Spiritual Formation within the Order, ongoing formation of ones Christian Identity will be developed through living the Faith of the Order.
The Foundations of Spiritual Formation within the Order continue with a Catholic Identity. Without faith in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church – that Church established by Jesus Christ, set forth by the Apostles, and defined by the Church Fathers, one cannot hope to form a Spirituality of Christian Religious Life.
It is required, therefore, that those who hope to be members within the Order believe in the Catholic Faith; that is, the Scriptures, the Creeds, the Sacraments, and the Episcopacy (see the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral).
Throughout the Program of Spiritual Formation within the Order, ongoing formation of ones Catholic Identity will be developed through living the Religious Life of the Order.
The Foundations of Spiritual Formation within the Order continue with An Anglican Identity.
Without an Anglican devotional life that centers on proclaiming our Faith through the Worship of God as expressed by the Liturgy of the Church (“Lex Orandi, Lex credendi”), one cannot hope to form a Spirituality of Religious Life within an Anglican Order.
It is required, therefore, that those who hope to be members within the Order have a religious piety that is shaped by the Anglican Patrimony of Worship.
Throughout the Program of Spiritual Formation within the Order, ongoing formation of ones Anglican Identity will be developed through living the Religious Life within the context of an Anglican Order.
Personal Formation within the Order
Cognitive Formation within the Order will seek to impart Theological knowledge which will bring the member to an ever-increasing inward Conversion to Jesus Christ and enable the member to effectively proclaim the Gospel
This will be achieved through ongoing study, which focuses on the theology of the Church, and will include a particular interest in the study of Religious Life.
Affective Formation within the Order will seek to cultivate a Spiritual piety which will lead the member to an ever-increasing inward Devotion to our Lord and enable the member to live in accord with the OSM Rule of Life.
This will be achieved through ongoing participation in the spiritual life of the Church, and will include a particular devotion to the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.
Volitional Formation within the Order will seek to build Vocational skills which will bring the member to an ever-increasing desire to serve the Lord and His Church and enable the member to help cultivate a Community of Spiritual Life.
This will be achieved through active ministry in the Church, and will include a particular interest in the Communal life of the Church and her Worship.
Community Formation within the Order
The Community Formation of the Order will include a focus on the Religious Identity of the Order.
As a member of the Order, one must always consider their life in light of the fact that they have been Consecrated to the service of the Lord and to His Church.
Members of the Order are to be mindful of their attachment to the Order and its implications on their Spiritual Life. They should be certain that this relationship is cultivated within the Life of their Community, particularly within the Common Life of a Mission of the Canonry Parish.
The cultivation of this Religious Identity should be aided through: 1) adherence to the OSM Rule of Life; 2) the wearing of the OSM Habit; 3) attendance at OSM General Chapter and Meetings.
Canons Regular Identity
The Community Formation of the Order will include a focus on the Identity of those Ordained within the Order as Canons Regular.
As a Religious Canon, a Brother must always consider his life in light of the fact that he has been Consecrated to the service of the Lord and to His Church, and has been called to a life that includes aspects of both the monastic and the secular Religious Vocations; as such, he must be committed to contemplation and devotion without neglecting proclamation and service.
The Canons Regular are to be mindful of their attachment to the Order and its implications on both their Spiritual Life and their Ministry. They should be certain that their ministry gives evidence of their vocation as a Canon Regular.
The cultivation of the Canons Regular Identity should be aided through: 1) active Ministry as a Canon; 2) adherence to the OSM Rule of Life; 3) the wearing of the OSM Habit; 4) attendance at OSM General chapter and Meetings.
A Prayer for the Work of the Order
May St. Michael the Archangel, defender of the People of God, come to our aid as we seek to Defend the Faith of the Church, and May the Saints of God and our Spiritual Fathers among the Canons Regular guide our steps as we seek to Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Form our Lives around a Rule of Devotion, and form Spiritual Communities through service to the Church of God and the World.