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The Incarnation : a school of liberty

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A time of welcome

This is the 4th « portal » proposed for an itinerary of formation in the Family of the Incarnation. We recall the first three:
- The Incarnation, mystery to wonder at
- The Incarnation, school of life,
- The Incarnation, school of prayer.

Father Baudouin

In a letter of 14-11-1816, Fr. Baudouin wrote:

« The heart enjoys great liberty when Jesus is its only lodestone »

Just as a compass which invariably indicates the North allowing the traveller to orientate themselves, so the school of the Incarnation, according to Fr. Baudouin, in orientating us towards Jesus, Word Incarnate, path of life, allows us to advance on this road with a great liberty. We are thus on the right road no matter what happens. This is how Fr. Baudouin speaks about this road, in an intitled chapter :

Liberty of the children of God or Latitude of heart

This latitude or liberty of heart is to accomplish the Father’s will promptly with joy and ease as one who walks in a path that is large, dry and even. This latitude is felt more easily than it can be expressed.The big –hearted person is never embarrassed, wanting only God."I have come, said Jesus, to accomplish the will of my Father,", nothing else could occupy him. Since he saw all as God’s Providence, he wanted only that, he was never surprised, he never felt himself constrained. Obstacles to this latitude of heart are :
1° haste, busyness ;
2 too many occupations ;
3° a multiplicity of venial sins, because mortal sins make us completely slaves. (Sablaise Rule,, ch. 8)

A liberty of heart which allows us to move forward in life with joy, with ease as one who walks in a path that is large, dry and even…with a large heart which is never embarrassed, never astonished, never constrained!
It is as if one is dreaming: Fr. Baudouin, is he proposing an ideal which is inaccessible for the men and women who live in a society that is always in a hurry, anxious to do, rushing, « tied to time » Fr. Baudouin rather wants to orientate us towards a liberty which is learnt, a liberty to conquer with humility, docility, flexibility:

« This liberty of heart can only exist where there is true humility and total
detachment. » 20-12-1820, to Mère Saint-Benoît

- « Keep ones soul like a canvas under the brush of the painter,a white paper under the pen of the writer ; work, have a large purity of heart, that is to say do not commit any fault, .»1-1-1818 to l’abbé Gaboreau

- « We are clay, formed by the Master Potter, this wise and infinitely wise worker, whether he makes a more beautiful or less beautiful vase of us, let us rejoice in his divine will! Fiat ! fiat ! may we find grace before him, so as to be never separated from him! » 1818 to Père Ecarlat

- The Kingdom of God is everywhere : in whatever interior or exterior position one finds oneself one can work at at ones perfection.One sees everything in God,by God and with God and one is at ease even in the most difficult situations.But one works hard and yet does not advance, because
One does not follow these principles.These things are deep, dear daughters meditate on them,understand them, practise them and you will have peace … 23-12-1820 to all the Congregation.

Testimonies from a Treasure in Common

on« the liberty of the children of God or latitude of heart ».

- A reminder: the questionnaire organised in 2003 in view of
constituting the Family of the Incarnation invited all members of our religious families and all the groups of lay people :« associates », « friends of the charism » or organised « fraternities », to dig deep into the treasure of our spirituality, finding there « expressions of what is lived which says Incarnation ».

The replies to this questionnaire showed the attachment of the « disciples » of Fr. Baudouin to this orientation of our Founder on « latitude of heart »

The Spirituality of the Incarnation is a way to God that requires of us to develop three points fundamental for the life of every Christian : prayer, admiration and action so as to discover the presence of the Incarnate Word in each of our brothers and sisters.

For that, each member of the frternity should pass through a school
- that forms, educates, commits and nourishes prayer especially by contemplation, offering and thanksgiving
- that teaches us to be humble in front of others, to look with purity of spirit on all events that happen around us.
- that teaches us a path of liberty as children of God so as to act in his name, with the help and solidarity of others, without haste, calmly and above all with great charity.

To live ‘latitude of heart’

- to ponder over the Word of God so as to live it daily in humility, gentleness, latitude of heart.

- Live in the present moment.
- Live the " here and now " : « Take this time as to day brings it forth. »
- To be present to the present moment : the ordinary,, the « here and now ».
- To adapt oneself to whatever is happening as Louis-Marie Baudouin did.
- To be, to find oneself, and to live the here and now of what the Lord shows us through events.
- Welcome differences in a climate of liberty, of frankness, of confidence, of mutual respect wanting to make the other person happy. The more "the other person who is different " is accepted, the more our adoration will make sense and the more it will become " a common treasure " that builds up Family. It will be a call for others who want to come and be part of this family that helps one to live.
- Stay with questioning.
- Renew ones judgement (Romans 12).
- To be at ease and put others at ease.
- Adjust oneself in order to understand others, events. – Walk at ease, do not live frustrated by external laws and commands, but live, freed by the words of life.
- To live in the real world starting by accepting the other person, oneself and events in order to adapt oneself, to start anew, to create.

Word of God

« Ponder the Word …
in order to live latitude of heart. »

- Rom 8, 14-17 : the Spirit which we have received …
- Gal 5, 13: it is to freedom that you have been called.
- Lk 12, 22-32: do not be anxious…seek first…
- Ps 85, 11: show me Lord, your way …
- Ps 130: Lord my heart is not proud…

Practise

« This latitude is felt more easily than it can be expressed » Fr. Baudouin wrote.
The sensation of walking on a dry, even road can only be experienced by living it, and by practising it, while walking …learning this step.…

- a look at our experience : be aware of the moments, the days in my life where I found myself « restricted », others where I « walked at ease as on a path that is large, dry and even… ».

- to live the « here and now », learn to reread ones life:
it is up to each one to find the right moment for that, each day…each week…to stop, to place oneself under God’s gaze.
not to give an account of the positive and negative in our days or our week
but to make of our days, weeks… a prayer of thanksgiving and of pardon,
and to discern what in our days could be « obstacles to latitude of heart » such as « haste »
or « too many occupations ».

- learn to ponder on the Word as a source for liberty of heart.