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“Prayer Will Nourish the Theological Virtues in Our Hearts.”
Letter from Fr Álvaro Corcuera, LC to the Legionaries of Christ and consecrated members of Regnum Christi

faith, hope, charity
"The theological virtues are the only ones that will sustain us in the process we are carrying out. And they will not only sustain us, but they will help us to grow spiritually and apostolically."

On October 20, 2011, Fr Alvaro Corcuera, LC, general director of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi sent the following reflection on the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity to the Legionaries and consecrated members of Regnum Christi. It is published here because Regnum Christi members and friends may find it helpful for their spiritual life.


Thy Kingdom Come!

Rome, October 20, 2011

To the Legionaries of Christ
And consecrated members of Regnum Christi

Very dear friends in Christ,

I have wanted to write you for some time to express once more all of my esteem and gratitude for your generous self-giving to God in the Legion and the Movement. I can assure you that when I received the perpetual vows of some of our brothers in the Center for Higher Studies this past October 2nd, it occurred to me that these brothers were joining the great number of religious, consecrated men, and consecrated women around the world who live their consecration to God with fidelity and joy. I also thought of the example of fidelity of that Spanish nun who made her profession on the same day the Pope was born. A whole life with Christ offered for the salvation of souls!

Now, as a brother and at the start of this year (in the northern hemisphere), I would like to share some reflections that can help us to walk more closely with God during this period of discernment and purification that we are living through as a family. It is normal that sometimes we feel restless and upset, and that an uncontainable yearning for peace and serenity surges up in our soul. I invite you to bring all of this bewilderment and yearning to prayer. There, in the intimacy of our soul, let us ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen us, and to grant us the grace of letting ourselves be guided trustfully by the motherly hand of the Church. Let us increase the quantity and quality of the time we dedicate to prayer and reflection. Here in the community of the general directorate, for example, there are spontaneous adoration turns throughout the day. How could God not hear us if all of us, each one in the place obedience assigned him, joins in to this river of prayer?

Prayer, intimate contact with God, will nourish the theological virtues in our hearts. These virtues are the only ones that will sustain us in the process we are carrying out. And they will not only sustain us, but they will help us to grow spiritually and apostolically, since “all things work out for the good of those who love God, those who have been called according to his plan” (Rom 8:28). These virtues—we learned them in our childhood—are gifts of God infused in us by the Holy Spirit on the day of our baptism, and they have God himself as their object. We believe in God, we hope in Him, and we love Him. Thus, let us not cease asking him, like the apostles, “Lord, increase our faith” (Lk 17:5).

In the first place, we have faith, which not only means believing in what He reveals to us and the Church teaches us. It goes further than that. Faith is the adherence of our entire self to God, supreme truth, supreme love. Faith allows us to see God’s loving presence in all the events of our lives. They can be pleasant or hard situations, but a person with faith can discover God’s providence in them and convinced, exclaim with the Psalmist: “For your mercy is eternal” (Ps 136). On the other hand, faith is not a passive virtue. Anyone who truly believes in God and in his infinite love gives himself over to Him totally. And in that complete self-giving, he finds the peace and certainty for which his heart yearns. That faith and that self-giving grow stronger and purer in moments of trial, when all human supports fail us and we can only cling to God’s hand, the one thing necessary, our only Rock.

The Pope recently announced a “year of faith,” which will doubtlessly be a beautiful opportunity and a blessing for the Church. How much we have to ask God to preserve and increase our faith! Let us ask insistently for this gift so that we will not let ourselves by conquered by attitudes that can lead us to reduce our vision to just what can be seen by human reason. Faith does not ask us to close our eyes to what human reason can see clearly; it asks us to open them more, much more, to discover the deeper reality, which is the omnipresence of God’s love. Faith opens us to God and to our brothers and sisters.

Hope is the second theological virtue. Precisely because we believe in the infinite love God has revealed to us in Christ, we put all our trust and security in Him. Hope impels us to yearn for the kingdom of heaven, which is our ultimate goal. And it also impels us to journey through life leaning not on our human strength, but on Christ’s promises and on his grace. St. Paul said, “Forgetting what lies behind, but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14). The goal of our life! The goal is to get to Christ, to reach him definitively in heaven, and the path is the humble and generous living of our consecration to Him. How beautiful is the process we are going through now in the Legion and the Movement, to grow in hope and achieve greater union with the poor and chaste Christ, whose obedience unto death redeemed the world from sin. A few days ago, while commenting on Psalm 126, the Holy Father invited us to “consider more often how, in the events of our lives, the Lord has protected, guided, and helped us—and thus praise him for all that he has done for us. We should be attentive to the good things the Lord gives us.” And he continued, “This attentiveness, which becomes gratitude, is very important for us and creates a memory of the good that also helps us in times of darkness” (Audience, October 12, 2011). If our life is a constant act of gratitude, our entire being will be filled with peace and we will always be open to serve our neighbor with all our heart.

All of this is not something we can achieve with our own strength, but with God’s grace and working with the Holy Spirit. The difficulties and sadness, which are never lacking in human life or consecrated life, tend to take away our peace and joy. But hope gives us a strength capable of facing those moments as golden opportunities to unite ourselves more to god and walk more decisively toward heaven. “Whoever has God lacks nothing… God alone suffices,” said St. Teresa. And also the Pope, during his recent trip to Germany, chose to take this sentence as a motto: “Where God is, there is a future, there is hope.”

Finally, charity, the queen virtue, the virtue that never ends, that never passes away (cf. 1 Cor 13:8). Charity brings us to love God above all else, and our brothers as Christ loves them (cf. Jn 13:34). This is the Christian’s distinctive virtue, and it thus has to be the virtue that most characterizes us as Legionaries and consecrated members in Regnum Christi. Whoever loves lives in God and lives of God, since God is love (cf. 1 Jn 4:7). Charity has an internal dynamic: the love of God leads us to love his sons and daughters. This attitude, which becomes a habit, leads us to live St Paul’s words with love. “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others” (Phil 2:2-4).

How much we need to fill ourselves with Christ’s love! Today more than ever, we must ask for this love and show it every day to those who live around us. May love always drive us to mutual respect, understanding, dialogue and patience, unselfish help, and the overcoming of negative feelings that can condition our relationships with others. Let us ask insistently for this virtue. And may the Eucharist transform our hearts and fill them with holy zeal for the salvation of souls. Apostolic zeal is born from and nourished by charity. It is also the source of testimony as a full act of charity, and which is manifested in our words and actions, as St. Paul also said, “No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. (And) be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ” (Eph 4:29-32).

I hope these reflections are helpful to you. I send them with the strong desire to be close to each one of you and to express all my gratitude. Believe me that it is a blessing to have brothers and sisters like you.

Let us pray a lot for all the consecrated men and women now that they are starting a new phase after the apostolic visitation, so that God will continue guiding them in the fulfillment of his plan for the Movement. And let us not stop praying to the Lord of the Harvest to bless us with many vocations for the third degree so that we can better serve souls and the Church.

May the Blessed Virgin, woman of faith, hope, and charity, accompany you always on your path of self-giving. I pray for you and ask you to pray for me as well.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Álvaro Corcuera, L.C



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