Chapter one: THE DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER OF THE ORDER
 

1. The Order of the Most Holy Trinity is a religious family founded by St. John de Matha with its own Rule. For the sake of the upbuilding of the Church, the members of the Order share their lives with each other, consecrate themselves in a special way to the Trinity and take Christ the redeemer as their primary model. The Brothers, through their ministry of charity and redemption, commit themselves to help all who suffer uncommon hardships, especially those who suffer for their faith or who are poor.

            The Rule of St. John de Matha is the base for and the foundation of the spirit of the Order. Updated throughout the centuries by tradition and especially by the spirit and work of the Reformer John Baptist, the Rule is interpreted in conformity with the mind of the Church and according to these present-day Constitutions.

            The Order of the Holy Trinity is a clerical order of pontifical right.

            2. God the father willed to save us only through Christ and the Holy Spirit. Christ, in turn, established his Church as the universal sacrament of salvation. So, he who enters the Order of the Holy Trinity attaches himself to the Church and becomes part of its mystery primarily to attain the following objectives: to follow Christ with greater freedom and to imitate him more faithfully by professing the evangelical counsels; and to strive toward attaining the fullness of Christian life and the perfection of charity[1]. The Trinitarian, moved by the Holy Spirit toward achieving such holiness, avails himself of those aids which the Order places at his disposal for entering into an even more intimate union with Christ, the herald of God’s true name, the glorifier of the Father and the redeemer of the human race. Thus, with all his strength, the Trinitarian will strive to involve himself, in a credible and concrete way, in rendering glory to the Trinity and in achieving the redemption of his brothers.

            3. It is the Brothers’ task to actualize this kind of life in way that reflect not only the needs of individuals, but also of the community[2]. So, the Brothers, in living their lives both as individuals and as communities, have the right and duty of experiencing the Trinity and the redemption of Christ, and of witnessing to the same.

            The Brothers combine the prayers they say, the celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, the various chapters and other community observances, with their endeavors in the charitable and ministerial apostolate in such a way that safeguards the authentic characteristic of the Order[3].

            Likewise, the Brothers take care to retain those values which are prescribed by the Rule and which are found in the hallowed traditions of the Order, namely: simplicity, humility, equality among the Brothers, the joy of life, hospitality, conscientious work, the sharing of material goods, silence, prayerfulness, honesty, a certain measure of austerity, mutual evangelical correction, and the principal trait of the entire Trinitarian religious life, namely, the spirit of charity and service[4].

            4. The Trinitarian spirituality consists of same theological, ascetico-mystical and apostolic elements that from the spirituality of the Church. The Order shares in these elements, lives them and practices them in conformity with its God-given charism and in a way that is specially its own.

            From the very beginning of the Order, a life of special dedication to the Most Holy Trinity has been an essential and characteristic element of the Order’s patrimony which tradition has enriched throughout the centuries.

            Therefore, the Brothers, by the very fact that they become members of the Order, consecrate themselves to the Trinity in a further and special way “since God willed that we, among all other religious, be the chosen vessels to bear the wonderful title of the Most Holy Trinity throughout the world”[5].

            Through the dynamic awareness of this Trinitarian identity, the Brothers continually strive to grow “in the intimate union with the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit[6]. The entire spiritual and liturgical life of the Brothers, their religious, communitarian and apostolic life and the renewal of the same flow steadily from such Trinitarian awareness through an even stronger love for God and neighbor.

            5. The Order’s spirit, purpose and life-style stem “from the root of charity[7]. Our forefathers, stirred by the dangers which threatened the faith, and sensitive to human suffering, wanted to provide spiritual and social remedies for the more pressing ills of their time, particularly for the captivity of Christians.

            And so, in light of the evolution and the progress of present-day society, the Order’s task and duty is to render a service of mercy and redemption, “so that all may share in the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom 8, 21):

            a) on behalf of those who suffer persecution for the sake of Christ or whose Christian faith is in jeopardy or in hampered;

            b) on behalf of those who are deprived of their rights of freedom and justice and who are subjected to sufferings and hardships of body and spirit; on behalf of the poor and the neglected, whom the Brothers will help by works of mercy and by other endeavors of human promotion;

            c) on behalf of those people do not yet believe in Christ, by assuming the task of spreading the Gospel and of implanting the Church in their midst. The Order will offer this service in accord with its own specific spirit and character primarily in those regions where the social advancement of the people needs most to be promoted;

            d) on behalf of the Christian faithful whose faith needs to be sustained or strengthened through ministerial service or apostolic activity which the Brothers will perform, according with the Order’s own spirit and character, in the various undertaking which the Church has entrusted to the Order.

            6. The Order’s whole life and its continued renewal depend most of all on the formation of its members. Hence, their formation must be effected through a harmonious fusion of the factors which helps to integrate their lives[8].

            7. Christ also committed to his Church the ministry of governing[9] which must be exercised for the good of souls. Thus, the Order, which shares in the ecclesiastic power of government because of its clerical character[10], regulates the Brothers’ life and activity and directs them toward attaining the perfection of charity by means of norms and the ministry of its legally constituted authority.

            The principal norms of the Order are contained in the Constitutions, the General Directory and the various Statutes.

            The constituted authority in the Order is:

            Collegial.  This authority resides in the Order’s various Chapter, Congregations and, in some instances, in the Councils, according to the directives of these Constitutions.

            Personal. Only a priest-brother, “who shall be called Minister[11], can exercise this authority. The Major and General Minister exercises it over the whole Order; the Minister Provincial or his equivalent exercises this authority in his respective province or area of jurisdiction; the local Minister exercises it in his religious house 

            8. From the very beginning of our Order, there have been Christian faithful who have shared in the spirit of the first-established Order. Some of these eventually institutes and associations are bound to the Order in various ways and degrees by a bond of love and by their collaboration in the work and the life of the Brothers.

            In fact, they carry the same title “of the Most Holy Trinity”; they are inspired in a variety of ways by the same specific spirit of the Order and they work for the glory of the trinity and for the redemption of human kind. For these reasons they from with us the Trinitarian Family.

            9. For a variety of reasons, the Order’s identity and its ministry in the Church are fittingly expressed through the symbols of its coat-of-arms.

            The coat-of-arms of the Order is the one that has been used from the earliest times of the order and which is portrayed on the mosaic that is over the main door of St. Thomas in Formis in Rome. This mosaic portrays Christ the redeemer holding in his hands two men who have chains on their legs. Along the perimeter of the mosaic are inscribed the words “signum Ordinis sanctae Trinitatis et Captivorum” (Seal of the Order of the Holy Trinity and of the Captives).

            The habit is a sign of our consecration[12] and fraternity. According to the tradition handed down in the Order, it consists of a white tunic with a blank belt, a white scapular on which a cross of red and blue color is placed, and of a white capuche[13].

            The name or title of the Order is “Order of the Most Holy Trinity” and its initials are O.SS.T.

            10. Let anyone who is called by the mercy of God the Father to religious life and to share in the patrimony of the Order render joyful thanks to the Holy Trinity for such a great gift. “Let him take painstaking care to preserve and excel increasingly in the vocation to which God has summoned him. Let his purpose be a more vigorous flowering of the Church’s holiness and the greater glory of the one and undivided Trinity, which in Christ and though Christ is the fountain and the well-spring of all holiness[