The following letter crossed my desk this morning and I thought it might be enjoyable for everyone on this Holy Day. It is from Fr Joseph Fazio, LC, Regnum Christi Chaplain for Louisiana and Mississippi, to the folks he serves in some of the most beautifuls parts of the United States. Enjoy!
Dear Legionaries, Consecrated and all Regnum Christi members of Louisiana and Mississippi,
I wish to extend my greetings to you on the occasion of All Saint’s Day. I figured it was time to motivate you all with a spiritual message especially since I can’t get to see everyone all the time and I wish I could visit each city more frequently in order to attend you better either in spiritual direction or at the monthly reflections. I leave you one thought for your reflection and prayer on this day and then I will develop it in three points.
Prove to the world that Regnum Christi is a means of salvation, that Regnum Christi is a means of holiness, that Regnum Christi is a means of perseverance in the Catholic Faith!
We have all been given a gift from God and only we know how to explain what it is and how to pass it on to others. That is why the Pope through his Delegate Cardinal Velasio de Paolis has had us go through the current renewal process. And as we need to reflect on this in our teams during the month of November so as to present our thoughts to Rome before December 15, it may be good to remind ourselves how important it is that we take this seriously. Since we are Regnum Christ, it is up to us to become saints, because this is truly the sign that it has come from God. If we don’t make it to heaven, then it doesn’t work. If we aren’t faithful to the charism, to the Constitutions, to the Statutes, to the traditions and to the means given to us and approved by the Holy See, we will never know if in fact it saves. That is why we need to discern what is ours and what in fact identifies a Regnum Christi member among other Catholics, so that we can show the world in a clear way another lane on the racetrack towards heaven. We need to come together, after having studied what the Delegate sent us, and either confirm that that is who we are or make the necessary comments or modifications to his document. But in order to be able to do this we need to live it first. And so in this mind set consider these three points of reflection and three challenges to live up to in your own lives.
A means of perseverance in the Catholic Faith. On various occasions Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have made Catholics aware of the rise of new movements within the Church encouraging even the bishops to embrace them within their dioceses so that the Holy Spirit can renew the face of the earth. Likewise the Holy Pontiffs have directed the new charisms to serve the Local Churches and collaborate with the pastoral plans of each diocese. Our charism offers a concrete way of living Catholicism in the third millennium. Practicing age old traditions such as mental prayer, reception of the sacraments, virtue building and the ardent search for the truth through reading and investigation are just some of the ways we can help keep the faith of our fathers alive! At the beginning of the Year of the Faith, Pope Benedict stated that we should not be lazy in the faith. How many RC members, even active ones, are falling behind in their daily commitments to God! If we who are promoters of the faith, so called apostles for our times can’t sanctify our days with time spent with God, how then can we go and get others to do what we ourselves don’t do? The call to holiness comes before apostolate, yet being actively holy is itself a quiet apostolate that attracts more people to God through the merits gained in prayer and just by the testimony of grabbing for the beads or making that sign of the cross. And so, persevere in your Catholic Faith first! Just be Catholic, a good one at that. Do your morning and night prayers. Go to mass and be a good parishioner. Pray with depth. Dress as though you represent Christ and Mary. Be charitable on the inside and out. Vote for the candidates who defend life and favor a more Christian perspective on politics. Do good deeds. Attend your team’s Study Circle. Work on your Program of Life. Show the world that Regnum Christi is a way to persevere in this two thousand year old creed. Show the world that the Catholic faith is in fact the true real religion. Show the world that Regnum Christi in fact helps me to adhere to this true real religion.
A means of holiness. Only God is Holy and he is three times holy. We can be holy in as much as we participate in God and receive his grace. Active participation in the Eucharistic celebration, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, recourse to sacramental confession, assimilation of Sacred Scripture, devotion to Mary particularly through the Angelus and the Rosary: all of these things so familiar to us, bring us into the life of Christ. Christ is our connection with God. No contact with Christ means less contact with God. Mary brings us to her Son and so do these other means, but if we don’t take her hand, or open the Bible, if we don’t step into the confessional or enter through the church door or go to our kneeler, they can’t bring us anywhere. Thanks be to God that we have our Regnum Christi family, a contingent of Holy Mother Church, who like a good mother doesn’t wait for us and extends her arm and reaches out, grabs us and pulls us at times to be closer to the source of grace. Would we have reached a certain level of holiness if it weren’t for a spiritual guide’s insistence, a team leader’s phone call or an RC member’s kind invitation to go to the monthly reflection? Had it not been for a certain Triduum or a retreat or a Regnum Christi daily meditation, would I have changed or converted from my wicked or sensual ways? Believing in Regnum Christi as a means of holiness doesn’t consist of knowing what are the commitments, but of doing them and using them. Make use of the Regnum Christi Handbook. Make use of the Regnum Christi website and of our local one for LA & MS. Go to Encounter. Make use of the commitment card you received at your incorporation. Make use of that Bible, take hold of that crucifix, roll through those rosary beads. Get that absolution, desire that Sacred Host! Run after every opportunity to gain an indulgence so as to eliminate your temporary punishments or to release a soul from Purgatory. The RC Prayer Manual offers a list of them which you can gain regularly or yearly. Show the world that Regnum Christi helps you fulfill that baptismal commitment of being holy. Show the world that Regnum Christi produces saints. Future generations will need saintly Legionaries of Christ, Consecrated men and women, single and married lay men and women of Regnum Christi, ECYD boys and girls in order for them to believe and want to join the path that God sets out for them. Don’t let them down! Become the first Regnum Christi saint!
A means of salvation. Christ is the Savior of the world. He set up his Church in order to continue his presence and his mission in time and space. As it grows, new divisions and regiments are formed to organize this one huge family of God. Thus he created Regnum Christi as another entity within the Church to house and nourish a portion of his children, but also to launch them into the world in order to reach out to the rest of the flock. Just as the Church is the Sacrament of Salvation, so therefore is Regnum Christi: a visible sign that confers grace which leads to intimacy with God on earth and ultimately to permanent union with him in heaven. How many souls could have been lost in these last decades if they had not come into contact with a Regnum Christi member or with one of its apostolates? Would countless souls have converted or come back to the Church if it weren’t for the fervent prayers of a legionary novice, or for the attractive devotion of consecrated woman at mass, or for the lively yet deep deliverance of a reflection given by an RC member, or for the joyful yet well conducted camp organized by an ECYD leader? Familia (now Cana Institute) alone brought so many married couples back together again and now they live as active Catholics within their parishes. And so, All Saints Day is another reminder for us to be saints who get others to be saints – apostles who form others to be apostles. Show the world that Regnum Christi helps you live out that mandate from our Confirmation to go out and witness to the Risen Christ! Regnum Christi can convert the average Sunday mass going Catholic into a fiery apostle of the Kingdom! Become that saint and apostle first so that you can prove to the world that God didn’t raise up Regnum Christi in vain! Deliver the message of salvation. Be a means of salvation for your brothers and sisters! Get active again in some apostolate. And if you are already doing one, believe with greater faith that if you don’t continue, there will be one less hand reaching out to needy ones in the name of Christ and many a soul falling into the hands of a lot of devils.
Now if Regnum Christi is that means of perseverance, holiness and salvation for you and if in turn you can be a means of perseverance, holiness and salvation for others: you are awesome! But, we all fall short. None of us are perfect and God knows that. But he delights in seeing us strive to squeeze through the narrow gate! Go for it! Be a saint! Be the first Regnum Christi saint, be the first Consecrated saint, be the first Legionary saint! Show the world, too, that saints can come from the South and that the South can make saints even out of us hard headed Regnum Christi people.
Don’t be lazy. Go to your Men’s Convention (only men please), or your team Encounter, your monthly reflection, your spiritual direction, your kid’s camp, the nearest Christ the King event, etc. and don’t miss out on giving your input on the charism. Your input will automatically produce the output that is needed to overcome the world’s noisy distractions so that your brethren are adequately fed Christ, his doctrine and his way of life. Don’t be afraid. Contact your local section director for details on when you’ll be getting together. If not just ask me or a legionary or consecrated near you and we will help you find out.
Go therefore and be a saint. Happy all Saints Day and pray that I may become one, too! Thank you for all that you do and count on my prayers!
Fr. Joseph Fazio, LC, Regnum Christi Chaplain for Louisiana and Mississippi