The Third Order is structured in levels according to the degree of commitment of the Members.
The charism of lay people consists in looking for the kingdom of God in those temporal matters in which, by vocation, Third Order Members are united. These temporal matters must be arranged within the world in a Godly fashion so as to contribute to the sanctification of the world. Lay people have to transform the world by bringing the Gospel into their cultures, living their secular charism and the profession of the faith which they received in their Baptism and reaffirmed in their Confirmation.
The Third Order has three levels according to the union that our Members have with our Religious Family.
1) The Fraternity of the Incarnate Word.
The third level is made up of a wide variety of lay people, or diocesan priests, who are friends, or have a spiritual affinity with us, or are benefactors of our missions, or are families and relatives of our Religious Members. All who desire to share in the spirit of our Religious Family are actually a part of this Fraternity of the Incarnate Word. These are “life” Members of the Third Order who are united with us by prayer and charity. They share the same love for God and for the Congregation. Third Order Members manifest the Incarnate Word in their lives in their own environments, in their families, in their work, in their studies, in their Parishes, and in all other situations.
2) Association of Faithful
This second level is made up of several lay movements and an association of the faithful. Each one in this association can share in our apostolate and mission according to the possibilities and pastoral necessities that present themselves in our existing missions. These groups according to their own statutes and under the guide of an Incarnate Word priest can proclaim in all cultures the Good News that Christ brings.
3) Consecrated Lay People
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 or another form of consecration. These faithful can make profession of the evangelical counsels—poverty, chastity and obedience—while at the same time preserving their original state of life. They are privileged members within the Third Order by virtue of their particular consecration. As lay people, they live in the world according to their lay state and with those obligations arising there from, and they manifest their particular consecration through the evangelical counsels. By this profession, Third Order Members dedicate themselves to intensive 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.
Admission to the First Level is for those Third Order Members who desire to make a consecration by way of private vows or promises, accepted by the Superiors of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.
Admission to the Second Level is for those who want to commit themselves to belong to the Third Order by way of group commitment with their own statutes approved by the Superiors of The Institute of the Incarnate Word.
Admission to the Third Level is for those who manifest an explicit desire to belong to the Third Order. They enlarge the spiritual treasure of the Family of the Incarnate Word.