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With temperatures on the rise last week, I found my mind wandering back to Italy, to the place where our community in Rome spends the summer months, the Sorrento Peninsula. The region is renowned for its rock formations that rise from the sea at imposing angles. However, those same rocks and the unpredictable currents that eddy along the shores make sailing the coast as treacherous as it is alluring. No wonder it´s thought by the locals that Homer, when writing the Odyssey, placed Odysseus’ encounter with the Sirens precisely there.
Homer, in book twelve, tells that the Sirens’ enchanting voices would cast a spell on the men that dared pass through those waters. Bewitched by the call of the Sirens, the sailors would linger only to find their boats wrecked, dashed upon the rocks. Odysseus had a burning desire to arrive at Ithaca to reunite with Penelope, the love of his life. He knew the danger he was facing and, upon Circe´s advice, had his fellow Ithacans place wax in their ears as they rowed. They held their course to Ithaca.
In a sense, as a spiritual family we can experience the same thing. Enchanting voices can call us to one side or the other and prevent us from staying on the course of renewal that the Church, the Holy Father and his Delegate are mapping out for us. They, even as limited human mediators, are sustained and guided by the grace of God. We are sure that with them, we will arrive to our safe harbor, where Christ is. We follow Jesus and the safe route to Christ is the Holy Father, as St Catherine of Siena said, the Pope is “sweet Christ on earth”.
During these past few years, the Holy Father himself and Cardinal De Paolis his Delegate have decisively helped us in our renewal process, and along with the members of our congregation and Regnum Christi, have put in place many institutional reforms. There was so much to be done and there still is.
The list is long, but as part of the renewal within our spiritual family that I experience and, I think all Legionaries and Consecrated do, I underline the following:
– A much greater desire to selflessly serve the Church and work alongside the bishops and pastors.
– A better grasp of peoples’ needs and the absolute need for God’s mercy.
– A real and profound charity.
– A deeper humility regarding our past and our place in the Church.
– A better understanding of our charism.
And as part of our institutional reform:
– The process of revision of our constitutions is already past its midway point. It has brought about a broad consensus on a number of points for the new version.
– Our government is much more participatory. We have implemented consultation processes for certain important decisions.
– We have put in place systems to make our administration more professional and transparent.
– Mutual reflection and discussion to understand better our spiritual family’s charism is continuing. This coming year, the consecrated and lay members will join us in these discussions in order that together all of us can come to better understand and live this gift of God. It will be such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I can’t wait to experience this.
God’s gift transcends each of us as individuals and has been lovingly acknowledged by the Church. I encourage each one to patiently persevere in the task at hand. The Legion and the Regnum Christi movement are moving forward, guided by the Church and the Holy Father. Like Odysseus, we do not want to be led astray or be shipwrecked. Rather, we want to stay set on Christ, the light and love of our life. The words of Cardinal Newman come often to my mind: Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom, Thou lead me on.