Final Document – IV Plenary Assembly

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CHRISTIAN LIFE MOVEMENT

IV PLENARY ASSEMBLY

January 19th – 25th 2015

“To live and announce the joy of the Gospel”

FINAL DOCUMENT


Arequipa, Saturday 24th January 2015

Dear brothers and sisters,

The present document is the result of work done during the IV Plenary Assembly of the CLM. It gathers the experience, reflections and directives proposed that were brought up as we considered our apostolic work for the next five years[1].

We received the blessing of the Successor of Peter with joy and gratitude, whose Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium has guided our thinking and works.  Our hearts resonate with his invitation to increasingly move out of ourselves, testifying to the joy of the Gospel. “I hope that all communities will devote the necessary effort to advancing along the path of a pastoral and missionary conversion which cannot leave things as they presently are”[2].

We have heard the call for a deep renewal in our desire for holiness and our apostolic identity, which we want to live with great joy, enthusiasm, and action.

There are three words that have been with us throughout these days that we believe should imprint a deep spirit within the Movement: unity, reconciliation, and apostolate. This is why I urge all members of the CLM throughout the world to read and reflect upon this paper in order to understand the best way to apply it to their personal situations.

May our Mother always guide us to live our vocation with intensity and to share the joy of the Gospel with all peoples!

Alexandre Borges
General Coordinator of the Christian Life Movement


Preface

1       We have gathered as a Plenary Assembly of the Christian Life Movement in the city of Arequipa (Peru). The charism that God has blessed us with has taken deep roots within this city. Today, the Lord Jesus invites us to look at the horizon of the mission in a renewed way. During these days, we have started our work with joy, celebrating the gift of the Eucharist, which has fed and sustained us. We have worked together. In a sincere and fraternal dialogue, we have realized the richness of the gifts that God has blessed us with. We have also recognized the increased commitment and initiative that members of the CLM have assumed in various places and cultures in which the Holy Spirit has invited us to serve.

2       Once again, our Mother has been present as we walk our path.  This time, She is especially present in the mantle of Guadalupe. We have recognized that this rough cloak of St. Juan Diego invites us towards humility. Her soft voice speaks sweetly of trust, reconciliation, evangelization and love for the Son.  We are deeply convinced that if we are like “the smallest of children”, She will cause roses of Castilla to bloom in our lives.

3       As members of the CLM, we feel that we are children of the Church. Following the example of contemplation and cooperation of our Mother Mary, we find ourselves enlightened and questioned by the teachings of Pope Francis[3].  With awareness and maturity, we welcome the invitation given to us in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, to live and proclaim the joy of the Gospel. As a part of the Church, we too want to boldly go into the world, which needs to come face to face with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

4       God, in his Divine providence, has willed that our IV Assembly be held in the same year that the universal Church pays particular attention to the consecrated life and the family.  In the CLM, the diversity of our states of life is a treasure that encourages us to support each other in showing the world today that Love is real and that it is the only horizon of life that is worth living.

5       We have gratefully watched our growth and maturation during this thirty year pilgrimage as a Movement.  With joy and responsibility, we recognize the centrality of the CLM in the Sodalit family, not only because of its size or vitality, but also because it is, par excellence, a place of encounter for members of our spiritual family.

6       Looking at our history with the hopeful realism of the Gospel, we have seen that with these many blessings and generous responses to God’s plan, there have also been painful facts, inconsistencies, and sins that have left wounds. Today with humility, we welcome the exhortation of St. Paul to allow ourselves to be reconciled with God[4].

7       In the midst of the diversity which characterizes and enriches us, we witness a profound and dynamic unity. We are called to deepen in the charism and spirituality which we all share. We want to deepen more and more our communion with God and with each other, transforming ourselves into ‘new wineskins’ capable of hosting the ‘new wine’ which is Christ Himself[5]. Like the first Christian communities, we too want to follow Jesus with all of our lives and to respond to the mission, “to proclaim the newness of the Gospel with boldness in every time and place, even when it meets with opposition”[6].


Renewing our identity

      We found ourselves called to live the joy of the Gospel, to be witnesses to the encounter that transforms us and is expressed in all aspects of our person. In this spirit, during the dialogues in the Assembly, we identified some challenges and priorities for the life and mission of the CLM in our time that will encourage and help us to renew ourselves:

9       To strengthen our CLM identity, “sealed by our vocation to the apostolate”[7] in awareness that we are children of the Church and also of our place in the Sodalit Family.

10     To work for a greater unity in our spirituality, charism, and the mission we share. In particular, seeking out reconciliation – which is a precious gift that the Holy Spirit has given us[8]— which promotes fraternal dialogue, overcomes ruptures, and makes the encounter possible.

11     To value our heritage, gathering together our good experiences, as well as the lessons learned from past mistakes, and constantly enriching and contributing to this heritage in order to faithfully pass it on to future generations.

12     To renew our vision of our current reality, discerned through the light of the Holy Spirit and from the Gospel, through personal situations and cultural contexts in which we live and do apostolate, and approached from the richness of being an international Movement.

13     To seek greater communication and participation in the life of the local Church, nourishing ourselves through their own richness, and contributing our charism[9].

Living the Joy of the Gospel

14     “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”[10]. By looking at our identity and charism, we discover that to faithfully and joyfully live the “ecclesial vocation of holiness, apostolate, and service”[11], we must respond to this five-year period with special emphasis on the following challenges and priorities:

Spiritual Life

15     Grow daily in our openness to the grace of God through active participation in the sacraments and an intense spiritual life[12].

16     Cultivate in a greater way our cordial relationship with Jesus, through the heart of our Mother, and to convey with great freedom the experiences of this relationship[13].

17     Develop and offer practical means for the spiritual accompaniment of members of the CLM and to watch over one another as a family.

Formation

18     Take personal responsibility to fully form ourselves, for our lives and the apostolate[14], through our spirituality.

19     Promote better formation for apostles of apostles, and, in a special way, to care for those who are in ministry positions.

20     Encourage all members of the CLM to develop and share training materials and resources in different languages and to adapt them to the culture of every place.

Organization

21     Achieve an organization that will provide a structure in which responsibilities are dealt with efficiently, and that will promote fellowship among members of the CLM, with the view to better serve the mission. An organization that both represents and is suitable to each CLM community.

22     Work towards an organization that expresses and helps to strengthen the identity of the CLM, seeking to define processes and establish clear lines of decision-making and action to help with its development and organic growth.

23     Promote occasions for dialogue and communion amongst different institutions involved in the apostolate of the Movement in order to work towards a common horizon and build bridges of cooperation.

24     Circulate the document that will be prepared by the General Council of the CLM. This document will make the guiding principles of our organization explicit. It will also help clarify the specific processes and concrete methods of how we organize ourselves.

Communications

25     Grow in the apostolic attitude of sharing and communicating our faith (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

26     Better take advantage of technological resources and advancements to facilitate a broader and more fluid level of communications. This will foster synergies and collaboration among all members, proposals, and those responsible for the CLM.

27     Organize and document our apostolic initiatives in order to use and distribute them.

28     Develop new ways of involving others in the Movement and of reaching new people through the possibilities offered by information technologies and communication.

Temporal Affairs

29     Encourage co-responsibility and generosity within the area of temporal affairs of all members of the CLM, recognizing the importance of economic resources in maintaining our apostolic mission.

30     Promote the organization of temporal affairs, developing the means and strategies to help us generate needed resources, and to administer with care and transparency the goods which have been entrusted to us for the mission.


Announcing the Joy of the Gospel

31    “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lk 24:32).  This question resonates within us and, like the disciples of Emmaus, we go forth with the same fervor to announce the joy of the Gospel. We are aware that our apostolate is universal, because nothing human is foreign to us[15].  With this burning heart, we propose the following guidelines, following our apostolic accents, for the apostolate of the CLM in the next five years:

Evangelization of the Youth

32     We discover that the reality of the new generation is in constant change.  Furthermore, we value the concerns, richness, and strength of the young people of our time.

33     As apostles, we face a great challenge from the realities that threaten young people today, such as: lack of commitment and genuine relationships, noisiness, distractions, and indifference. Along with these come psychological and moral difficulties that can impact their ability to meet the Lord Jesus, and their ability to enter into themselves to cultivate their inner life.

34     We recognize that every young person is called by the Lord to holiness through a coherent Christian life which includes the discernment of their particular vocation.

35     We also discover a richness in our apostolic charism that responds in a real way to the new generation. It provides a space to open oneself, with freedom, responsibility, and commitment, to the service of the mission.

36     We see the need to renew the means and tools used in our evangelizing services for the youth.

Proposals

37     To generate a dynamic of constant reflection in the CLM about the youth culture, especially by listening to the young people themselves. To make our progress on these reflections available through online media.

38    To provide adequate formation for the youth, seeking dialogue and collaboration with their parents and suggesting professional help as needed.

39     To educate the youth early on in their lives on the issues of Christian anthropology, human dignity, and Christian moral principles.

40     To strengthen the essential characteristics of our charism, for instance the principle role of the youth in the mission of evangelization. To multiply the apostolate by forming apostles of apostles and emphasizing that the youth are the principle apostles of the youth. 

41     To promote personal apostolate, supporting the youth in their journey of faith as well as promoting Marian Groups as communities of Christian life and true friendship in Christ.

42     To build a culture of vocation within the movement, in which there is a natural atmosphere of discernment.

43     To strengthen support to the youth before, during, and after the process of vocational discernment. This process should involve the participation of people of different vocations.

44     To create opportunities to help young people to understand themselves and open up to the experience of God (hiking, retreats, silent prayer, service to others, cultural events, etc.)

45     To encourage creative forms of apostolate in the CLM that respond to their concerns and that prioritize volunteerism (solidarity, catechetical, professional, missionary, ecological, etc.)

46     To continue reflecting and working on a program of Christian life for the youth in the movement that is flexible, adaptable, and which has updated resources.

Commitment to Solidarity with the Poor

47     Human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, understand themselves as human people through the path of love.  Therefore, we want to seek an integral ministry to understand the human being in all of its dimensions, which develops both the poor and the volunteers, preventing their possible exploitation.

48     We discovered the need to reflect on the Sodalit spirituality in Christian solidarity, deepening our understanding of it as a ministry of evangelization and solidarity.  Furthermore, we find an urgent need to cultivate an integral and tangible formation for our beneficiaries and volunteers, guided by the Social Teachings of the Church.

49     We see that in the CLM it is important to foster a culture of charity and reconciliation. It is important to develop a preferential love for the poor, in the understanding that conversion and charity are essential aspects of the Christian life. We invite all members of the CLM to make an examination of conscience, both personally and with their community, about how we are living love for our brethren who suffer. In doing this, we renew our zeal for the priority of announcing the Gospel.

50     We see the need to promote charitable volunteering that is structured and consolidated, in order to respond to the Lord’s call to live mercy. 

51     We consider it important to promote an organization of apostolic solidarity that integrates structure, management, economic resources, and a proper relationship with the Church. This will allow synergy between partnerships and projects, areas and regions, and allow for the proper channels to communicate our efforts.

Proposals

52     To form an international committee to deepen our apostolate with the poor and our organization. This committee will seek to promote events and forums for cooperation in order to create, share, and distribute useful materials for working with our poorer brethren.

53    To ensure that all of our apostolates have the same characteristics of the apostolate of the CLM. An apostolate in which the Gospel is clearly underlined and integral human development is promoted to all those we serve. Where appropriate spiritual and sacramental accompaniment is provided and where communities of faith are formed. Encouraging the existence of physical places which can offer assistance for specific needs.

54    To encourage people to serve in works of solidarity in order to deepen in community and charity. To inspire them to take advantage of existing materials, retreats about living charity with the poor, workshops, etc.

55    To develop training programs for volunteers and benefactors, taking in to consideration their education, language, culture, etc.

56    To encourage members of various associations of the CLM to periodically visit and engage in our charitable initiatives.

57    To promote in all members of the CLM, whether in communal or personal ways, concretely living the works of mercy.

58     To form, structure, and consolidate CLM volunteering in order to promote a greater involvement of the members of our spiritual family, responding to a genuine commitment to the gospel.

59     To create an internal communication platform in order to share relevant information and build bridges of cooperation in our apostolates.

60     To develop protocols and courses on the management of social welfare, in order to ensure that our initiatives and charitable projects have a self-sustaining structure. Basic operational plans will be created and best practices documented to make sure that the environments in which we develop activities are secure for all people according to the evangelizing mission.

Evangelization of Culture

61     Evangelization of culture has often been understood as an isolated accent – a task only for artists, intellectuals, scholars, etc. – and not as an intrinsic dimension that must nourish all of our apostolate. We are called to establish this evangelization in Christ under the guidance of Mary.  Therefore, we see a challenge in developing a deeper understanding of the concept of evangelization of culture.

62     The phrase, “constantly evangelizing evangelizers” invites us to understand that as a movement, we have an internal culture that must also be evangelized. We see the need to recognize with humility, generosity, responsibility, and reverence the values we should safeguard. To cultivate and develop values and anti-values that can be lived in order to be transformed by the power of the Gospel.

63     We see a challenge amongst the members of the CLM in promoting a culture of study, reflection, dialogue, and prayer. This should be encouraged so that our horizon of evangelization of culture can gain the importance that it has in the apostolic mission that we are called to live.

64     Today’s culture presents itself as post-modern, post-human, and globalized. Present within it are evils such as individualism, disinterest in truth, the resignation of one’s humanity, and the idolatry of money, among others.  Because of this, we are required to renew ourselves in a disposition for dialogue with the current culture, from within the heart of the world. As Pope Benedict XVI taught us, “this dialogue must now be developed with great open-mindedness but also with that clear discernment that the world rightly expects of us in this very moment”[16].

65     Inserted in a world with a deep rift between spiritual and earthly lives, we feel that it is urgent to exemplify a synthesis between faith and life.  If we coherently live the faith, it will transform and illuminate every aspect of our existence[17]. Through this, we will bring about the evangelization of culture, not only in great works, but also in our everyday lives.

Proposals

66     To promote local ‘think tanks’ that have a spirit of dialogue and openness. Supported by the parts of our spiritual family that are reflecting on our culture, the person, and the current realities, such as universities, cultural centers, and institutes.

67     To generate basic guidelines that allow self-evaluation of the internal culture within the CLM at local and general levels. To live out a process of continual conversion so that we can work towards the values that we believe are necessary to foster in the coming years.

68     To develop plans to evangelize the culture for all members of the CLM. To actively commit to the mission of transforming the world with courage, creativity, open dialogue, a critical perspective, and intelligence.

69     To provide the necessary personal and intellectual support for members of the CLM who have a particular dedication to the evangelization of culture. To cultivate our lay identity and the richness of a spirituality of action, in order that our apostolate can go to the root of culture itself.

70     To encourage the production and publication of materials, in synergy with other initiatives of the spiritual family. This will help members of the CLM understand their own environments (labor, interest, recreation, family) from a perspective of faith, so that we can make a personal commitment to transform reality through Christ.

The Promotion and Evangelization of the Family

71     We see in our CLM members who are called to marriage the need to deepen in their vocation, and in its place and mission within the Sodalit family. We also see a need to strengthen the spiritual life of the family and their commitment in doing apostolate to other families, to the poor, and during missions.

72     We discover that it is essential to promote and develop comprehensive formation for marriage and the family life in its different stages. To generate permanent spaces of reflection that are creative and personified in order to respond to present situations involving the family.

73     We find a great need for comprehensive support of families, both those who participate in our spiritual family and those in society in general.  We see the need to assist them in their personal and spiritual growth and their development. Particularly, to accompany those in special situations and crises, such as mourning, children with disabilities, infertility, unemployment, diseases, vices, addictions, infidelity, divorce, and care in old age, among others.

74     We consider it vital to care for and accompany young adults in the CLM on their road to maturity. In the preparation and support for their vocation of marriage. As well as in their integration and development in the world of work, from a Christian perspective. That they might be in the world but not of the world (Jn 15:19).

75     We discover the need to grow in a spirit of critical thinking concerning the currents of thought. Currents such as an anti-family and anti-marriage culture, gender ideology, moral relativism, and to confront the movements that promote them.

Proposals

76     To create spaces in which to deepen in the vocation of marriage and family life. In addition, we propose to develop programs to support family life, as well as publications, conferences, and symposiums.

77     To develop programs (workshops, courses, conferences, and publications) to prepare others to live their vocation of marriage, according to their different stages of courtship (far-off, upcoming, and immediate). We must also consider couples who have their own particular situations.

78     To create workshops and training manuals for marriages to support and guide couples and families with difficulties.

79     To make known existing initiatives for the family in the CLM, allowing us to support families in general and to help those who are in situations of crisis.

80     To encourage families to go on missions, do apostolate, work with other families, and participate in the World Meeting of Families.

81     To begin initiatives that address the reality of the young adults of the CLM. To help them form and deepen in their specific vocation, their spiritual life, as well as to experience the Gospel message and Social Doctrine of the Church for the workplace. Similarly, to incorporate formation for the vocation of marriage into the Marian group manual.

82    To form ourselves, guided by the Magisterium of the Church. To understand better the challenges that the family faces by the culture of death and the culture of waste. Finally, to promote initiatives that give testimony to our world, of the beauty of the Gospel of the Family.

Promotion of the Life, Dignity, and Rights of the Human Person

83     Given the constant attack by the culture of death, we discover the need to better promote and protect life. From the moment of conception until natural death.

84     We see now both a disregard and violation of the dignity and rights of the human person. Especially to women, the sick, the elderly, children born and unborn, among others who are vulnerable. In this regard, we consider it vital to confront this injustice.

85     In a hedonistic culture that separates love and sexuality, we discover the need to promote a proper understanding of human sexuality and openness to life.

86     We see the need to reach out to, welcome, and help others in a process of reconciliation through the mercy which Jesus invites us to. Specifically to those who are suffering or have suffered rape, same-sex attraction, sexual addiction, suicide, abortion, domestic violence, among others.

Proposals

87     To pray both personally and with the community for the defense of life and the dignity of the human person.

88     To participate in initiatives for the promotion and defense of human life at the local Church. As well as offering an ecclesial formation service that is given by the youth, for the youth, on the virtue of chastity.

89     To develop and provide educational courses for love and sexuality for youth and adults. Along with this, programs for parents to educate their children on issues related to sexuality and respect for human dignity.

90     To include the reasoning behind the defense for life within the formation manuals.

91     We encourage disseminating existing material on sexuality and life, which are available in the media, through initiatives of our spirituality, and through the universal Church.

92     To promote volunteering in places or institutes for vulnerable people. Examples include nursing homes, shelters, prisons, etc. To expand initiatives that promote the dignity of the human person and to encourage communication amongst our existing initiatives.

93     To form ourselves to understand how to bring mercy and charity to people who live in particular physical, moral, or spiritual suffering. Depending on the severity of the situation, we propose coordinating with existing organizations both within the spiritual family and outside of it.

94     To spread and deepen our understanding of the existing material of the Magisterium and other authoritative sources about these difficult realities. To generate situations of welcome for the people previously described, with an emphasis on pastoral care.


Conclusion

95     Having experienced as a family the presence of the Holy Spirit, “soul of the Church” (EG, 261), under His guidance, we have tried to collect the concerns and needs of these brothers and sisters who have represented us. In a spirit of joy and deep friendship, we return to our homes full of hope, carrying these conclusions as fruits of our labor.  We hope that the CLM, with new vigor, will “go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear” (EG, 23).

96     We trust the work and fruits of this Assembly to our Mother Mary, the fearless pioneer of evangelization. On the hill of Tepeyac, she gave renewed zeal for the first American evangelization. In a similar way, we ask her today to guide us on the exciting adventure of the New Evangelization.

97     The image rendered with divine ink on a human cloak shows that Mary is Our Lady of Reconciliation. Therefore we implore thy help that we might become “artisans of reconciliation” as Saint John Paul II called us during our I Plenary Assembly.

98     Filled with gratitude to God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon us during these days, we exclaim with one voice: “The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy” (Ps 125:3).

99       A heartfelt thanks goes out to all the people who made our IV Plenary Assembly a success, especially to the Catholic University of San Pablo, it’s officers, administration, and service staff. Also, to all the members of the CLM of this White City who welcomed us and all those who silently and generously supported and guided us with their prayers.


[1] Statutes, 33.

[2] Evangelii gaudium, 25.

[3] See Statutes, 9.

[4] See 2 Cor 5:20.

[5] See Mk 2:22.

[6] Evangelii gaudium, 259.

[7] Statutes, 7.

[8] Statutes, 3.

[9] Evangelii gaudium, 29.

[10] Jn 15:11.

[11] Statutes, 1.

[12] See Statutes, 8.

[13] See Statutes, 5.

[14] See Statutes, 8.

[15] See Gaudium et spes, 1.

[16] Benedict XVI, Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia Offering them his Christmas Greetings. 22/12/2005.

[17] See Lumen gentium, 31.