This past month Pope Francis spoke at the 5th General Chapter of the Schoenstatt Fathers. He said, “You know that a charism is not a museum piece, which remains intact in a showcase, to be contemplated and nothing more. Fidelity, to keep the charism pure, in no way means to shut it in a sealed bottle, as if it were distilled water, so that it is not contaminated by the outside. No, the charism is not preserved by keeping it put away. It must be opened and allowed to go out, so that it enters into contact with reality, with people, with their anxieties and problems. In this fertile encounter with reality, the charism grows, is renewed and reality is also transformed; transfigured by the spiritual force that the charism holds.”
I have reflected deeply on these words of our Holy Father. As a member of the Regnum Christi Territorial Committee, I had both the privilege and the responsibility to participate in the process of laying out the Apostolic Strategy for the Regnum Christi Movement in North America for the next five years. So did many of you who are reading this post.
It was not an easy process. In reality, it was quite difficult in both it’s scope and it’s future implications. What made this planning process different than those undertaken in the past? The answer is found in the words of the Holy Father. The process was not deliberated and decided by a handful of leaders gathered in a room. From start to finish, it was you the members who created the apostolic strategy that will guide the works of the Regnum Christi Movement. It was your input, your thoughts and your ideas that were sought. It was time consuming and at times messy. Picture perfect ideas were met with frank realties as to where our spiritual family is and what can be realistically accomplished. Fidelity to our charism necessitated embracing the anxieties and problems facing our people.
When the twenty-five members of the apostolic strategic planning team gathered in August, some of us came in a little weather–beaten, and a little worn. For having immersed ourselves within our spiritual family through out the summer, we had stood shoulder to shoulder, clothed in our charism, confronting the everyday realities our people were facing as they try faithfully to build the Kingdom of Christ.
I truly believe through this “fertile encounter” with the reality of our spiritual family, our “charism will grow, will be renewed and our reality will also be transformed by the spiritual force that our charism bears.”
I am deeply grateful to all who took time to lend their voice to articulate the plan that will guide our steps going forward. It won’t be perfect but it will be beautiful.