According to the insistent urgings of the Church and the Holy Father, the Secular Third Order of the Family of the Incarnate Word was founded in order to respond to the multiple and multifaceted “vocations” or “diverse spiritual and apostolic paths that affect each one of the lay faithful”.
In this way, all the lay faithful who desire to participate in and enrich the spiritual treasure of the religious family of the Incarnate Word also belong to it, through different secular commitments (levels of belonging), so that they may be like a new Incarnation of the Word in the sphere which is proper to them, enlightening all reality with the light and victory of the Incarnation.
Levels of Belonging
A. Consecrated Laity
In the first level of the Third Order of the Incarnate Word are those lay people who aspire to evangelical perfection according to our spirit. They participate in our mission by freely making private vows. They are privileged members within the Third Order, and therefore enjoy particular rights and obligations, since by the consecration of their life, with their prayers and sacrifices, they abundantly augment the spiritual treasure of the Institute. As lay people, they live in the world according to their lay state and with those obligations arising therefrom. Within the dignity and responsibility of the laity, they have given everything to God. Such are the laity consecrated exclusively to God to whom they are united by means of a voluntary and perpetual vow of virginity for love of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 19:12). Along with the profession, they commit themselves to use those means which, in accord with their lay state, enable them to completely fulfill their promises: such as the commitment to prayer, the reading of Sacred Scripture, participation in the Eucharist, frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance, spiritual direction, and the practice of the Spiritual Exercises.
B. Associations of the Faithful and Lay Movements
This second level is made up of several Lay Movements and Associations of the Faithful, each one with its proper organization. The laity can thus share in our apostolate and mission according to the possibilities and pastoral necessities that present themselves in the places where our Institutes are.
It is our desire to welcome all those enthusiastic faithful who, filled with the ardent desire of the heart of Christ, desire to establish and associate themselves with different unions with the goal of inculturation of the Gospel, by means of apostolic and charitable works, promoting divine worship and the Christian life, according to the various charisms, situations and functions, which God wants to arouse in the catholic laity. Groups which, according to their statutes and under the guidance of advisors of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, can implant in all cultures the imprint of the Good News that Christ came to bring on earth.
C. The Fraternity of the Incarnate Word
The third level is comprised in the broadest possible manner for all those faithful laity or secular priests worldwide who are friends, benefactors, supporters, family, etc.., and who want to share with us the spirit of our religious family, thus forming part of the Fraternity of the Incarnate Word.
They are “life” members of the Secular Third Order who — in various parts of the world — are united by the bonds of prayer and charity, and by the same love for God and the congregation.
Their calling is to manifest as individuals the Incarnate Word, in the surroundings proper to each one, in their own families, jobs, education, professions, parishes and other secular areas that are within their reach.