Birgittine spirituality has two very important pillars:
- The imitation of Christ
- The imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Imitation of Christ
The suffering of Christ is central to the life of the Birgittines. You can already see this in our habit, including the characteristic Birgittine crown we wear on our veil. It symbolizes the crown of thorns of Christ held by a cross with on it – at each intersection – the stigmata of the Lord. Among other things, we also wear a ring depicting the Crucified Jesus with Mary and St. John under the cross. St. Birgitta – in the suffering of her Lord – was seized by the love He has for her, which in turn awakened a deep love for Him. She could not contemplate His suffering by shedding many tears. The central theme in the suffering Lord is LOVE! We carry the suffering of humanity, of the Church, of the world in our hearts and in our prayers. We cannot escape it when it comes to our vocation: to be brides of the Crucified One. Wherever you go, wherever you turn: you encounter it everywhere. And as St. Paul says: we may complete what is still lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the good of the Holy Church.
Imitation of Mary
We Birgittines live in imitation of the Blessed Virgin her purely contemplative and hidden life: she kept God’s words in her heart and contemplated them to herself. (Lk. 2:19)
The daily celebration of the Eucharist and praying our Office (which we pray with and for the Church) is our main task and we pray the Office even 7 times a day: it is a good help for us to live as Mary did because in our Birgittine prayer the life of Mary is presented to us as well as her virtues. We are also reminded how she participated in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Our Marian Office is a mirror for us to live as she lived. Not to put her in the center: she always refers to her Son: through Mary and with Mary we go to Jesus! That we also live the hidden life also means concretely that we do not go out the door unless it is really urgent for going to the dentist etc., do not go downstairs to the chapel during prayer time but upstairs in the choir where we are not seen. Also no contacts to the outside unless urgent or necessary. This is so because in this way we keep our prayer life as pure as possible without too many distractions and scatterings and can focus more on Him who is Love and who gave His life for us. Without the necessary silence and seclusion, it is impossible to focus on Him with an undivided heart. It helps us to be able to experience the Paschal Mystery.