manifesting that God is the only true wealth of mankind
By professing the vow of evangelical poverty members of the Institute of the Incarnate Word wish to voluntarily surrender our material riches and the external goods of this world for the sake of seeking God alone. We seek to be perfectly poor, with the perfection of Christ. This perfect poverty does not simply mean effective poverty–the mere lack of riches or material goods–but affective poverty, or the detachment and voluntary renunciation of these goods. This implies that we seek to live a life poor, both in act and in spirit, following the example of Christ.
Practicing this vow for the sake of Christ, demands both humility and lordship. For, “In one who, like Christ, is poor willingly, poverty itself is a sign of maximum humility” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, III, 40, 3, ad 3). However, by increasing our humility it also increases the freedom of the noble spirit which the religious must possess because of his consecration. “He who cares nothing for the good things of the world has dominion over them all” (St. Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection, 2, 5).
for the sake of the kingdom of heaven
By the vow of chastity and in imitation of Jesus Christ…having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end (Jn 13:1), we want to offer God a holocaust of our body and our natural affections, living “the obligation of perfect continence observed in celibacy” (CIC, c. 599). This vow implies a preferential choice of an exclusive love for God since we have freely chosen to be like eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 19:12).
The vow of chastity, fully lived, constitutes triumphant purity which tends with all its strength toward God. We joyfully sacrifice our carnal affections, surrendering ourselves to Jesus Christ and directing all our love to Him. The fruit of this consecration is dominion over everything, together with a free will that is quick to please God alone.
even until death on the cross
Following the example of the Incarnate Word, members of our Institute also surrender themselves totally to God and give up their will by their vow of obedience. Under this vow we obligate ourselves to submit our wills to our legitimate superiors, who for us, act on behalf of God when they command according to the Constitutions.
We pledge to obey our superior in everything that relates to religious and apostolic life, imitating Jesus Christ, who became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:8). In this way we become particularly docile to the Holy Spirit, and our souls are constantly ready for whatever God determines.