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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Father Alvaro Corcuera, LC: «Love for the Church.»
Letter to all members and friends of the Regnum Christi Movement. November 14, 2007.

Papa Benedicto XVI saluda al P. Álvaro

The following letter by Father Álvaro Corcuera, LC, the General Director of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, is addressed to all members and friends of the Movement on the occasion of the solemnity of Christ the King.

Authorized translation of the Spanish original "Amar a la Iglesia".

In order to read or download this letter in pdf-format click, here.


Thy Kingdom Come!



Rome, November 14, 2007

To all the Members and Friends of Regnum Christi
On the Solemnity of Christ the King

My dear Friends in Christ,

With the feast of Christ the King so close, I wish to continue the custom of sending you my regards and making myself present among you by means of this letter, to encourage us all to live more perfectly our Christian vocation. We recently celebrated in St. Peter’s Square in Rome the beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs, who as others in so many places throughout history died crying out, “Long live Christ the King!” for they didn’t hesitate to give their lives for the greatest love of all, Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most outstanding trait of the martyrs and saints is their love and heroic fidelity to the Church. In the pages that follow, I wish to offer you some lines of thought to help each one of us reaffirm a facet of our spiritual lives that we cannot renounce, as Christians
La Pasión de Cristo
and men and women of the Kingdom: our passionate love for the Church.

1) The foundations of our faith and love for the Church

We believe in and love the Church because we know for certain that she belongs not to us but to Christ. This is the principle motive for our fidelity to the Church. He is her origin and support, the whole reason she exists. The Church conserves her beauty and true identity to the degree in which she belongs to Christ, and only in Christ and from him can she fulfill her mission in the world. The Church, founded by Christ, and subsisting in the Catholic Church governed by the Pope, the Successor of Peter and by the rest of bishops in communion with him, is the universal sacrament of salvation, that is to say, the instrument through which the fruits of redemption reach mankind through the action of the Holy Spirit and the sacraments. Thus, the Church is the means through which God continues his love-story with each one of us; she is the path upon which he happens upon us to save us; she is the place where he shows us his will for each of our todays.

What great consolation and security we find in knowing that our Catholic faith is founded on the solid rock of Christ’s word, that the Church is not principally the work of men and that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (see Mt 16:18) These two thousand years of history –full of persecutions, schisms and divisions, heresies, holiness and sin– are undisputable proof of this fact. And even though at times we can feel the battering waves and the violent winds, we fear nothing because we know in whom we have put our trust and we are sure of his power (see 2 Cor 1:12), and we know that it is he, the Lord of history and ruler of human destiny, who guides the Barque of Peter, calms the storms and walks on the waters. “Fear not, little flock” (Luke 12:32). Christ’s promise gives us the certitude that in the bosom of the Church we will always live in peace, we will walk securely even in the midst of temptations and difficulties. With her and in her we will not err, just as the saints who were able to trust God totally were not mistaken.

There is a very enlightening thought in St. Paul that reveals to us a second motive to love the Church. Speaking to the Christians in Ephesus about the relationship that ought to exist between husband and wife, he gives them as the model for their lives the relationship between Jesus and the Church. “Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her” (Eph 5:25). He did not establish the Church in a formal, legal gesture, but rather he begot her with his works and word, with his tears and sufferings, literally shedding down to the last drop of his precious Blood for her. The worth of the Church is the Cross of Christ. This was the understanding of many Fathers of the Church, who saw in the water and blood that sprang from Jesus’ side
Basílica de San Pedro
The convention will be held only 15 minutes away from St Peter's Basilica.
the birth of the Church (see Catechism 766). This is the price God paid for her! The Church, my dear friends and members of the Movement, deserves all our love and veneration because she is the work of God’s love shown us in Christ Jesus. We must do the same for her as Christ: beget her in our heart with the holiness of our daily lives, and live within her generously offering our entire selves to make her more beautiful and holy, leading all people to love her more.

Jesus Christ not only founded and loved his Church to the extreme of dying for her, he is also present in her, he lives in her, just as he also wished to identify himself with all men, our brothers and sisters. This is the third motive behind our faith and love for the Church. She is the “place where the Holy Spirit flourishes” (see Catechism 749), precisely because it is the Spirit of Christ who enlivens, animates and sustains her. Christ’s promise, “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20), comes true in a specific and visible way in the Church, which is eternal. We know that as Catholics we cannot say, “Christ yes, the Church no”, and our faith is connected to its practice. It is a belief, which doesn’t mean adhering to an idea or theory, but to the person of Christ in our deeds and religious practice. The same as telling someone, “I love you”, but not loving them with our actions. If we really love someone, and we love our family which is the Church, together we fulfill what they ask of us. The Church is not the sum of individuals; it is a Body, where we are all one, in health and in sickness, where no-one is alone nor should he feel alone. And for the children of the Church, the salvation of my brother or sister, no matter who they are, is a reason to give myself and to pray. It means living more for God and our neighbor than ourselves. James the Apostle wrote, “Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works” (James 2:18). My faith and love for God can never be disassociated from my faith and love for the Church. “Belief that the Church is ‘Holy’ and ‘Catholic,’ and ‘one’ and ‘apostolic’, is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (see Catechism 750). As St. Cyprian said, “You cannot have God as your Father if you don’t have the Church as your Mother.”

2. Some manifestations of our filial love for the Church

What follow are some practical applications, which I hope might be of use to you to make these ideas concrete and so grow in our filial love for the Church. They are ways we can love and dedicate ourselves to the Church as Christ did.

Love and adherence to the Pope

From the first day we incorporated, the Movement has always instilled in us an ardent and personal love and
Benedicto XVI
attachment to the Pope and his teachings, because he is Christ’s Vicar on earth, Peter’s Successor, the visible head and the sign of unity of faith and communion in the Church. This attitude is not based on our personal like for him or the human qualities we might see in him, nor on public opinion either, or the image the media broadcast, but rather on our faith and love for our Lord.

The first and most elemental way to express our love for the Pope is to pray for him. Jesus prayed for Peter so that his faith might not falter (Lk 22:31-32), especially in the hour of hardship and trial. One of the things Benedict XVI most often asks for in the private meetings I have had with him are our prayers, and he frequently repeats the same in his general audiences and meetings with the crowds. The Pope needs us and believes in the power of our individual prayers! Our prayers sustain the Pope in his difficult mission, like those men sustained Moses’ arms in prayer throughout the entire day in order to obtain God’s favor (Ex 17:8ff). Praying for another is an excellent act of charity. May we always keep the beautiful tradition of reciting every day the prayer for the Pope, so rich in content, that Nuestro Padre invited us to pray for him, especially after receiving Christ in the Eucharist.

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (Jn 10:27). There are two ways to follow the Shepherd: the first, which is more internal, consists in listening to Christ’s voice speaking through the Pope. This implies keeping abreast of his activities, writings and speeches, rendering the faith-filled homage of our adherence and interior acceptance of all his teachings. However, we also need to follow him externally by spreading his magisterium and love for the Holy Father among our friends, relatives and acquaintances, and by courageously defending his person in the awareness that he is the Vicar of Christ. In this regard, all Regnum Christi teams and sections, our educational institutions and works of apostolate can become enthusiastic promoters of love for the Pope and the Church.

Support for Bishops and Priests

We should also show the same faith-filled attitude toward the successors of the Apostles, the bishops who teach in communion with the Pope, and also toward our priests and pastors. They deserve our full respect and affection since they have been clothed with the highest dignity God can grant any man: that of being “other Christs” on earth, bridges of grace between God and mankind, co-participants of the powers and sanctifying mission of Christ. As we know, they are the portion of the Church most beloved by the Heart of Jesus; and simultaneously in many instances also the most needy. I invite you, dear friends and
Capilla Sixtina: David y Goliath
Regnum Christi members, to be very close to your Bishops and pastors. Offer them the closeness of your prayers, esteem and support in word and deed; generously back their instructions as much as you can; take sincere interest in their needs and constantly show them even those small gestures of respect and charity that are so good for us and contribute to creating the family atmosphere typical of every Christian community.

Regnum Christi members have to stand out for their ecclesial sense, their genuine and ardent love for the Church. They have to be active promoters of liturgical and pastoral life in communion with their bishops and pastors, thus putting to good use the spiritual and apostolic formation they receive through our specific charism, in union with the other groups and movements that do so much good within the Church. Thanks to God’s grace and the zeal of the members of the Movement, we are able to cooperate with bishops and pastors in a steadily growing number of places, in pastoral action carried out in unity, where we offer our programs for formation and apostolate directed, for example, toward childhood and adolescence, youth and families, human and Christian promotion of the neediest, the ongoing formation of the clergy and religious, etc. We are conscience-bound to put the spiritual and apostolic charism we have freely received at the service of our Bishops and pastors, aware that it is a gift for which we must be thankful. And as we also know, the best way to show our gratitude is by responsibly committing ourselves to sharing it with our brothers and sisters, following the vocation to which God called us to do good always. As the saying goes, “Always do good, it doesn’t matter to whom.”
Capilla Sixtina: Juicio final
To everyone, for in each person we see Christ’s face.

Pray for, promote and support vocations

The topic of vocations should be a concern and priority task for every loyal son and daughter of the Church, not only the priests. Our faith must move us to pray for and promote vocations. As we contemplate the enormous harvest of the world waning and dying for lack of Christ, we must be moved with pity and feel the same urgency as Christ to do something, little or much, but something. God still calls. No one more than he wants to give his Church abundant and good vocations, but he will not send them granted our indifference and passivity. He wants us to help him and has even told us how, “Pray to the lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38). Really believing in our responsibility by identifying with Christ’s concern has got to drive us to pray fervently every day for vocations and for the holiness and fidelity of priests and religious. Paraphrasing St. Paul’s words we can exclaim, “Woe to me if I don’t evangelize!” For, in a certain sense, this is the responsibility we all have of seeking and working so that there will be more vocations in the Church. There are members and teams in the Movement that have undertaken to promote adoration for vocations in their respective parishes or sections, or directly cooperate in vocational programs. Others, for example, have taken up the commitment of being a seminarian’s “godparent”, so to say, to a seminarian or a consecrated man or woman by paying a partial or full scholarship toward the cost of their formation. If every Catholic were truly to resonate with Christ’s exhortation we can be sure that in a
La Pasión de Cristo
matter of a few short years we would again see full seminaries, a more rapid increase in the numbers of consecrated men and women, and growth in priestly holiness and zeal.

Guard and promote the great treasure of unity and charity

The Eucharist and charity are two great treasures gifted by God to his Church, both intimately and inseparably united. We know very well that the Church’s strength and its transforming power in the world depend principally on its unity and charity. The hostile and pagan culture of the first centuries of our era was disarmed and conquered by the silent power of love, “See how they love one another!” (Tertullian, Apology of Christianity, chapter 39). History is called to repeat itself in our times too. The world will believe to the degree in which our families and communities live like the first Christians, “with one heart and mind” (Acts 4:32), for only love is believable. Where two or more Christians are gathered, there should reign the unity of ideals, charity, sincere respect and esteem, and mutual support. We must reject as terrible evils all calumny, gossip and slander, since they are so offensive to God and like cancer they destroy entire communities. In contrast, we must learn to discover and praise all that is good and excuse what is not, bear others’ burdens, reject envy, and forgive and forget all offences. This is an intrinsic demand of every Christian vocation, but we in Regnum Christi have taken it up as a specific mission, an apostolate, especially charity in speech, which is so typical of a meek and humble heart like Christ’s. On Judgment Day, the Lord God will judge us on our love. In life we have our successes and our failures, we make mistakes and we do things wrong; but what we know for sure will never be a mistake is loving and giving our lives.

From our first years, we heard our Father Founder say these words that summarize what I have tried to express in these poor lines, “Love for our Church: love that keeps watch, battles, forgives, extols;. Love that senses our Mother’s heartbeats, that meditates on her with faith, accepts her in obedience, expands her in apostolate, and makes her holy in our lives.”

May this feast of Christ the King prepare us to live and love these words from our hearts, striving to imitate Christ, meek and humble of heart. Christ did not reign by force or power. He taught us that his Kingdom is not of this world. His is the Kingdom of charity, goodness, meekness and simplicity. In his passion, humiliated, we hear Pilate’s words, “Ecce homo” (behold the man). Behold the man who is God himself and who gives himself up even unto death out of love for each one of us. There we see Christ, who by the example of his life is telling us that love is stronger, it alone can change people’s hearts.

My dear friends and Regnum Christi members, as I take my leave, I ask God through Mary’s intercession to grant you the grace of being true sons and daughters of the Church, and may he also grant you his protection and abundant blessings.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,            

Alvaro Corcuera, LC



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