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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Father Álvaro Corcuera’s Words to Regnum Christi Members at the YFE in Puebla
In his meetings with Regnum Christi youth and families, Fr Alvaro shared a message of hope, unity, and charity.

P. Álvaro Corcuera, L.C.
"Thank you for coming and for joining together as one heart and one soul."

March 24, 2009. Puebla, Mexico. At the recent Youth and Family Encounter in Puebla, Mexico from March 12 -14, Father Álvaro Corcuera, LC, gave three separate addresses to Regnum Christi members:

• A question & answer session with the youth on Saturday, March 13 in the morning.
• A homily during the Mass on March 13 at midday.
• A conference with the youth and families on March 13 in the afternoon.

Excerpts from those addresses are presented below.

Round Table Question & Answer Session with the Youth

Upon arriving to the meeting on Saturday morning, he invited all the youth to pray an Our Father, giving each word meaning by praying it in conversation with the Father, as when talking to a friend. He said that the most important thing in prayer is to give it meaning, rather than just saying words.

“Say it with the heart. Everything is possible with prayer, to think like Christ and to love like Christ. Prayer is like the lungs
P. Corcuera en Puebla
"How can we get discouraged in difficult times? They are times to grow."
of the soul.”

The question and answer session followed.

Q: What do you see in the youth of the Movement, and what do you hope for from us? 

Fr Álvaro: This is a question that should be directed to Christ. We can ask him what it is that he expects, since the Movement is a means to help us live our Christian life. What does he want of the Movement? I would want what Christ wants of it. For us to be holy.

A Movement member should ask himself: What can I do in the midst of so much darkness in the world? What does Christ expect of us? He wants us to be mirrors of him, so that when people see us, they can say: “I’m seeing Christ.”

He expects us to live the commandment of charity. He hopes that we will be like the first Christians, sharing our faith, being of one heart and one soul.

Q: How can we strengthen our faith in times of adversity?

Fr Álvaro: Here also, we have to ask Christ. And the answer is love, because after a difficulty and a difficult  moment, there is more love. How can we get discouraged in difficult times? They are times to grow. God allows it for one reason: so that we will be centered on Christ, so that we will center ourselves on loving Christ and belonging to Christ. That is what makes us conquer these difficulties. The apostles grew more when they were caught in the midst of the storm. In the time of test, their trust was strengthened.

Q: How can we know what Christ
Encuentro de Juventud y Familia en Puebla
"If something characterizes us, it has to be that we speak well of others, that we are apostles of the good."
wants from each one of us?

Fr Álvaro: Once again, we have to ask Christ that question in prayer: “Christ, help me to discover what you want of me. Help me to discover your will, and to not be afraid.” Maybe we will never have an exact answer, but we can never go wrong if we ask Christ. Our life is not about doing a thousand things. It’s about giving ourselves to Christ.

Some youth like to do extreme sports. What is an extreme sport? Kneeling before Christ and asking him what he wants of us, and not being afraid of the answer. God never lets us down.

Q: How can we help the Church in the midst of so much criticism?

Fr Álvaro: In the first place, we have to thank God for the criticisms, because they help us live the beatitudes better. We can offer at least a little thing for him. The best answer we can give to the criticisms, difficulties, and misunderstandings is to do what Christ did. He answered insults with blessings. He responded by loving more, loving those who don’t love you, those who criticize you.

On the other hand, if they criticize us, we also have to analyze and examine ourselves, to correct, to improve, to learn, and to keep overcoming evil with good. We all have to correct ourselves, too, because we are men and we make mistakes.

But the important thing is that when they criticize us, we should never respond with criticism. We have to thank God and improve. The more trials, the more holiness, the more charity, the more unity. It is a blessing to be more humble. They criticized Christ, and his answer was to open his arms on the cross. It is an opportunity to be signs of contradiction, overcoming evil with good. If something characterizes us, it has to be that we speak well of others, that we are apostles of the good. Christ would tell us that we have to think well of others, always speak well, and always build, never destroy or hurt our neighbor’s reputation. To be apostles of benedicencia (speaking well of others).

Homily at Mass: On the Mercy of God

Father Álvaro was the main celebrant at Mass on Saturday, March 13 at midday, along with dozens of Legionary priests who concelebrated. Married couples also renewed their marriage vows during the Mass.

During his homily, Father Álvaro spoke about the value of the cross and the mercy of God, based on the reading for the day, which was the parable of the prodigal son.

In this period, in which God has permitted some difficulties, we are sure that he allows everything for one reason: to grow in love and holiness. They are opportunities to strengthen our life in our love for Christ. When we make
Misa en el encuentro de Juventud y Familia de Puebla
"What is it that God wants in these moments? More holiness, more faith, a lot of charity, humility, and purity of intention."
the sign of the cross, we do it on our forehead, to tell him that we want our thoughts to be like his. We make the sign of the cross on our mouth so that our words may produce peace in the hearts of men, so that they will be words like Christ’s, meek and humble of heart. Then we make the sign of the cross on our heart so that we see all realities, be what they may, from the heart of Christ. The limit of our weaknesses is the mercy of God.

We want to listen to him in these texts that speak to us about the mercy of God. In the text of the prodigal son, we see three characters with whom we too can identify. We see the father who has given everything to his sons, who has lived for his sons, and whose joy was to see his sons faithful and happy. The delight of God the Father is to see his children happy. He is merciful and compassionate. He loves us with tenderness and affection. If a mother’s love moves our heart, how much God’s affectionate love must move our hearts! What would happen to the father if he saw his son claim his inheritance and go away?

This son left because his was seeking the warms of a home in a place where he was not going to find it. The father did not humiliate him, just as God does not humiliate the sinner. He did not throw the sin in his face. How many hours in silence, how many tears shed in silence by the father who so respected his son’s freedom, just as God respects our freedom. He hoped and trusted that he would come back.

Father Alvaro then invited everyone to renew their vision of the greatness of love and forgiveness, and of the danger of pride:

The second character is this son who goes away, who distances himself. Why does he go away? Why do we distance ourselves from God? Perhaps it is because we grow accustomed to God’s caresses, and when there is pride, those caresses are like scratches. God’s corrections are pure love.

The son distanced himself. He left. What happens when we sin? We grow accustomed to the love of God, we forget God’s goodness. A good means to not forget this is to make sure we never stop marveling at God’s love. To discover God’s love in everything, even in what we don’t understand. We love God not because we understand him, but because we love him. The young man lost the joy of love. May we never get used to belonging to this family, to the Catholic Church, of receiving the sacraments that are a true feast. We distance ourselves from God because of this, because we grow accustomed to so much love, and we seek love where it is not to be found.

And so when the son saw that his happiness was like a mirage, he repented. But it was out of hunger, not so much because of the father’s affection. It was because of the bad situation he was going through. Sin is a mirage of goodness when it produces so much unhappiness.

The son prepared his speech. God is waiting for us all day, thinking, “That’s my son. He’s going to come back. How I miss him!” So, when the son was just barely starting to take a step, the merciful father went out running to him, embraced him, and almost didn’t let him speak. He didn’t throw his sin in his face; he
P. Álvaro Corcuera, L.C., en Puebla
“A little while ago, I was with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, and he passed on greetings from himself and from the Pope."
forgave him by loving him. He prepared the best meal for him, what he knew his son liked. That father never humiliated him.

The third character is the older son. He was faithful, impeccable, hardworking. He did not commit sins of infidelity. However, he could not bear to see his father treat his brother, who had sinned, so well. It was even hard for him to recognize him as a brother. “Your son,” he said, throwing it in his father’s face. Sometimes pride is a sin that makes us blind, that makes us forget that God’s mercy is infinite.

But instead of reproaching him, his father reached out to him and went looking for him. He didn’t say to him, “Son, you are an envious person.” He also reached out to him: “My son…” and he explained it to him with great kindness and embraced him. For God, there is no limit. For God, we are all his children and he goes out to meet us.

Today this liturgical text gives us an explaination of our Christian reality. Lord, form a pure heart in me, a meek and humble heart. Lord, never let me get used to your goodness. Never let me get used to being in your house. There is no greater warmth than that of your home; may I never grow used to the sacraments. May I always know how to recognize the good, even in the midst of the evil that there may be among men. Help me to think like you, to speak like you, to love like you. To think well, to speak well of others, to be an apostle of charity.

He concluded by passing on a greeting and a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI, and invited everyone to continue responding to the call to love and holiness that we have all received in the Church. 

A little while ago, I was with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, and he passed on greetings from himself and from the Pope. And the Pope’s secretary also mentioned that the Pope is close to us. I told them that I would pass on the Pope’s love and closeness to all of you, especially with all the suffering he carries in his heart.

What is it that God wants in these moments? More holiness, more faith, a lot of charity, humility, and purity of intention. We have no other answer. The degree of pain is not important. Blessed are you when they say all manner of evil about you… when you can share in some suffering for my name’s sake.

Our role now is to ask forgiveness for all the suffering that has been caused, and to forgive with all our heart. To love with all our heart. To grow in the only thing we can grow in, which is love, charity. Because loving is heaven. And Mary is the expert in bringing us to heaven. A sword pierced her heart. She gave her heart so that our heart would be more like Christ’s.

May God bless you, and may we always be of one heart and one soul.

Conference with the Youth and Families at the YFE

Father Álvaro Corcuera, LC, gave a talk in the afternoon on Saturday, March 13 to all of the participants at the YFE. He began by thanking them for their presence and their closeness, and for the family spirit that could be sensed in the gathering.

He began by recalling the mission of Movement members in the Church and society.

Thank you for having come and for joining together as one heart and one soul. Your presence is a sign of so much love from God. In the midst of these difficult moments, I would like to thank you deeply. I would also like to ask your forgiveness for so much suffering that has been caused, and I pray that everything will lead us
P. Corcuera en Puebla
"Our life is not about doing a thousand things. It’s about giving ourselves to Christ."
to love Christ.

Mexico is a country that has great spiritual richness. The people love Christ, the Blessed Virgin, the Eucharist, and the Pope. We believe in the salvation of souls. And Mexico also suffers many crises: the force of secularization, of indifference. The Holy Spirit is calling us today to be holy, to be apostles and to evangelize. Woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel of Jesus!

You are apostles of peace who help people to see that our life is very short, but that it is worthwhile. Let us ask God: Lord, what do you want? To spend our life to do good, no matter the cost. Thank you to all of you who give us an example, because you make us see that we need to preach Christ from the heart, with a sense of urgency. It’s up to us to help people see that friendship with Christ is the best gift we can have on earth.

After, he touched on the importance of prayer and sacrifice:

We want to ask Our Lord to help us be men and women of prayer. What problem cannot be resolved in prayer? Any difficulty can be solved in front of the tabernacle, in prayer. Let’s not forget the specific moments to be with him. The entire day can be spent talking and listening to God. But it is important to make specific spaces to pray. Prayer is our best apostolate. We realize that only in prayer can we find the solution to what the mind cannot understand. Prayer makes us see heaven. In prayer, God makes us see that everything is a path toward God.

Lent is a time that offers us the opportunity to make a sacrifice: the small trials of each day, the humiliations, moments of sadness, the sufferings that
P. Álvaro Corcuera, L.C., en Puebla
Prayer is our best apostolate. We realize that only in prayer can we find the solution to what the mind cannot understand."
each one carries in the heart, those trials that makes us suffer more – these are the best penance. They cease being a disgrace, and become a great blessing, because the way of the cross is the way of love.

And suffering is not bad when one loves. Suffering for love is to unite yourself to Christ whose open arms tell you: accompany me. Suffering with Christ is a blessing, a gift. The one who suffers with Christ does not suffer with a face of shame, but as someone who has received a gift of trust. No one likes to suffer, but we all like to love. God does not ask us to sacrifice just for the sake of sacrifice. Love is priceless, and that is the sacrifice of Lent: offering everything so that others will be happier. It is the sacrifice of ourselves.

And he offered some advice to live Lent well:

Lent is also a moment for almsgiving. Our only alms are the only wealth we have, which is Christ, the greatest treasure and the greatest joy of our heart. If we don’t give you Christ, you have to reproach us, because the only thing we have to give you is Christ. He is our life’s only answer.
Almsgiving is also a fast. It is a fast from other media: television, internet, not because we can’t see them, but because they are little sacrifices we can offer. To spend more time in front of the tabernacle, to offer the use of our time as a gift and a talent.

Our vocation is always to sow seeds of goodness, to live the commandment of charity. The first Christians were probably not the best prepared or the most intellectual, but they went about doing good. May people recognize us for doing good. Goodness is creative. It’s enough to see all the variety of apostolates that exist in the Church…

When we want to know if we have the Holy Spirit, we have a good thermometer, which are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. We have to look into our heart, and not just depend on the environment, whether it be favorable or hostile. The thermometer of our heart is to change the environment, like the grain of wheat that dies to give life. If we want to give fruit, we already know the price. But when we are united, we even rejoice in suffering. Suffering makes us love each other more…

To read more about the Youth & Family Encounter in Puebla, visit this link.



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