I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God
From May 30th to June 3rd, 64 delegates elected by the territorial conventions and 16 participants of the Legion and the consecrated members gathered in Rome to celebrate the RC International Convention. It is another milestone in the renewal process of the Movement.
Thy Kingdom Come!
Prot. DG-RC 101-2016
Rome. June 4th, 2016.
Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
To the members and friends of Regnum Christi
Dear friends in Christ,
Yesterday on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart the Jubilee Year for the 75th anniversary of our foundation came to a close as did the Regnum Christi International Convention. Both events served as special times of grace. They helped us to discover the hand of God active in our own lives and in the life of our spiritual family and gave us the chance to thank the Lord for that infinite mercy of his which continue on filled with hope.
From May 30th to June 3rd, 64 delegates elected by the territorial conventions and 16 participants from the side of the
|North American Delegates to the International RC Convention|
Legion and the consecrated members gathered in Rome to celebrate the International Convention. This marked another important step in the renewal process of the Movement that aims to help us deepen in the understanding of our charism, renew our passion for the mission and find an appropriate canonical configuration for Regnum Christi. Our Pontifical Advisor, Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, was present at the convention, and on Tuesday the Secretary of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Msgr. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, celebrated the Eucharist for the group. On Wednesday Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, CS, accompanied us for Mass. That same day we also had the chance to participate on the Holy Father’s general audience on Saint Peter’s.
I wanted to share some of what we lived and experienced during these days as well pass on the most important results of the convention. I would also like to explain briefly the steps which lie ahead of us as we move forward on our path of renewal.
- “I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God” (2 Tim 1:6)
Last Wednesday the liturgy presented us with this text from St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy and I think it expresses well the spirit with which we worked and prayed during these days.
Our discussions were guided by a Working Document prepared by the Central Commission that included the recommendations of the territorial conventions. We worked both in plenary sessions as well as in small groups that were made up of members of various ages, diverse countries of origin, and distinct backgrounds. In all of this we sought to discern and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
In the working sessions and also during breaks we spoke a lot among ourselves and shared our opinions, at times emphatically, due to the love and appreciation we all have for our charism. We have also had the chance to listen to points of view different from our own and we experienced firsthand that diversity is in no way a threat to the unity of Regnum Christi, but rather an expression of its richness and its capacity to adapt to different cultural and ecclesial contexts.
|International RC Delegates|
The essential elements of our spiritual patrimony (see Code of Canon Law, can. 578), common to all the vocations which form part of Regnum Christi. resounded in our hearts and have been confirmed anew. We also considered those traits which are particular to the identity and mission of the lay members, expressed as follows: “The lay members of the Regnum Christi Movement are Christian faithful who personally accept a divine vocation to live their baptismal commitments in the midst of temporal realities according to the charism of Regnum Christi.”
Among the essential elements proper to our spiritual patrimony, some were particularly prominent: Christ-centeredness, our mission of forming apostles and that of helping them develop their leadership in order to better serve the Kingdom of God in the state of life in which they are called. We also experienced once again our love for the Church and for Christ’s Vicar on Earth, and our fidelity to the bishops, successors of the apostles. We allowed ourselves to be challenged once again by that love of Christ who came to set the earth on fire and wishes it were already blazing (see Lk 12:49).
We called to mind that our membership in Regnum Christi is built on a vocation. It is an answer in freedom and love to Christ’s personal invitation to live the Gospel in a particular way for the good of his Kingdom and of society. It was emphasized that we need to continue deepening in our spiritual life, understood as the ongoing development of the life of the Trinity within us which leads to configuration with Christ. Grace obviously has pride of place and our apostolate and our personal efforts to practice virtue are always a response to a divine initiative.
We have also felt to set benchmarks in order to offer integral formation to the Movement members, as well as to those who benefit from our apostolic works and those who participate actively in them. The Statutes are obviously not the appropriate document in which to trace out a formation program, since that has to adapt to the needs and characteristics of different cultures and of the local Churches. Nevertheless, it seems necessary to offer some general guidelines in the Statutes to help organize the formation of the Movement members.
One aspect we acknowledged with gratitude and joy was the sense of belonging to a single spiritual family in which the one charism can be lived out within different vocations. The lay members of Regnum Christi expressed their desire to live in communion with Legionaries, consecrated women, and lay consecrated men. We also confirmed that we share in a common mission and that each person is called to contribute what is proper to them.
In harmony with what was expressed at all the territorial conventions, the lay members almost unanimously confirmed that they preferred not to form an association exclusive to themselves, but rather to form part individually of the Movement as a whole. At the same time they want to participate in the leadership of Regnum Christi, in whatever way the future Statutes lay it out, and to be involved in the decisions which affect the common mission of the Movement.
The delegates have also expressed their conviction that we need to overcome the fragmentation of apostolic activity which occurs on the local level and to attain a greater integration of our evangelizing endeavors, which is the fruit of communion in the mission at the locality level.
We also talked and spoke of our own convictions and our experiences in relation to the apostolate of forming leaders at the service of the Church and saw that we need to continue deepening in our understanding of this aspect, purifying it when necessary and fostering what is evangelical. Something similar could be said of other concepts, such as efficaciousness, that are not the fruit of techniques and strategies, but rather of docile collaboration with the Holy Spirit. We have to put our whole person into play, with all its talents and its limitations. We also reaffirmed the importance of avoiding falling into worldly ways of acting and thinking that do not reflect the logic of the Kingdom as proclaimed by Christ in the Gospel.
Tensions and disagreements arose in relation to certain themes, some of them important. We did not come to a consensus but made some important steps forward. For instance, the delegates acknowledged the existence of two types of lay membership to Regnum Christi, which until now we had called “1st and 2nd degree”. However, they think we have to find a better way to describe the reality of this distinction and to include this in the text of the Statutes. The delegates have asked the Central Commission to continue searching for an appropriate way to expressing the two types of membership, taking into account what was discussed in the plenary sessions and the small groups. Regarding other issues, the disagreements had more to do with terminology. In these cases we accepted and recognized the tension and conflict that might exist, well aware that unity is greater than these differences. We need to continue praying and speaking about these topics as we seek to discover what God wants.
The delegates agreed that we have to get to know the history of the Movement better, with its lights and shadows. This will allow us to look upon the past with gratitude and. savor God’s mercy in a deeper way. It will also allow us to learn from our mistakes so as to avoid them in the future and discover what the Lord wants to say to us through these past events. Memory is an indispensable condition to maintain and develop our identity and mission in the Church. Without it, the idea of renewal would not be complete.
The spirit of communion and brotherhood was tangible. To be honest, we were not sure at the beginning how everything would turn out, but we trusted ourselves to the action of the Holy Spirit. Mutual trust and respect allowed us to express ourselves with freedom and courage. It also permitted us to transcend our personal experiences and discover what is essential to the gift we have received from God. We were at all times aware that we are not inventing our charism, bur rather rediscovering it and accepting it with renewed enthusiasm.
- “Do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord… but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.” (2 Tim 1, 8)
With the International Convention, the lay members of Regnum Christi expressed their views on what is proper to their own vocation and on what is common to the Movement as a whole. The results of the discussions in the plenary hall will be available in the following days for consultation on the International Convention’s website.
During the next few months, the Central Commission will work with the Pontifical Advisor in order to prepare a proposal for the canonical configuration of Regnum Christi as a whole. This work will be based on the discernment done by the lay members of the Movement, and the one presented by the General Chapter of the Legionaries and the general assemblies of the consecrated members of the Movement. The lessons learned from having put into practice the Framework for collaborative governance will also enrich this effort.
As explained in the process proposed by the Central Commission, once we have a draft of the statutes, the Legionaries, consecrated members, and lay members, will be asked to revise it before presenting them to the Holy See for approval. The manner in which this will be done has not yet been defined, but we can foresee that it will be done in a representative manner.
Beyond these juridical elements, which are very important, we are now called to “bear our share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God”. We want to share the joy of belonging to this family in the Church, of experiencing the love of God, of having received this great opportunity for renewal and purification in order to serve others in an increasing fidelity to the Gospel.
I trust that the graces which the Lord has sown in our hearts during this period, and which we have to share in our sections, works of apostolate, teams, and families, will bear fruit in due time. Knowing this, let us listen once again to Christ’s call to follow him to be his apostles, to take up our cross and go forth to the ends of the earth to preach his Kingdom of love and justice, mercy, reconciliation and peace.
I therefore invite one and all: Let us move on! It is time to be on our way! Do not let novelty and unforeseen events paralyze you. The path is long and very likely superior to our strength (see 1 Kings 19:7). Let us continue on our path knowing we are not alone: Jesus walks with us with the strength of the Spirit, with the goodness and mercy of his Heart, his passionate love for all men and women, and his desire that his Father be loved by all.
Please pray for the delegates and participants in the International Convention, as well as for the secretariat of the Convention, all of whom made this event the success it was. We are very grateful all those who sustained us with their prayer throughout the week. May Our Lady bless you, your families, communities and teams.
Your brother in Christ and the Movement,
Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C.