|"This World Meeting of Families has been like a Pentecost, where we have asked the Holy Spirit to transform us."|
January 26, 2009. The 6th annual "World Meeting of Families" took
place in Mexico City from January 14 - 18, under
the theme: “The Family as Educator in Human and Christian Values.”
10,000 participants attended the theological-pastoral congress each day, with over
30,000 present for the concluding Mass on Sunday, January 18.
The participants of this international meeting represented 98 countries, with 200
bishops and 30 cardinals in attendance. On January 18, Pope Benedict
XVI joined the participants via satellite to impart a message and his blessing.
Fr Alvaro Corcuera, LC, was one of the
invited speakers, and his contribution can be heard in Spanish at
After the family congress, Zenit interviewed Fr
Alvaro, inviting him to share his view on the meeting
and on the issues families are facing today. The text of
the interview is presented below.
In the Wake of the World
Interview With General Director of Regnum Christi
MEXICO CITY, JAN. 26,
2009 (Zenit.org).- The key phase of the World Meeting of
Families is just now getting under way, as families put
into practice what they learned, says the general director of the lay
Regnum Christi Movement.
Legionary of Christ Father Álvaro Corcuera was one
of the speakers at the World Meeting, which was held
Jan. 14-18 in Mexico City.
He spoke with ZENIT about what
the World Meeting of Families means for the Church and
why Christians should view the future of family life with
Q: How does God act during events like the World
Meeting of Families? What fruits can we expect?
Father Corcuera: I
am convinced that during these days, God has worked in
a profound way and has sown seeds of grace in
many hearts. The meeting has ended, but these seeds will
grow little by little. The Pope reminded us in June,
in the port of Brindisi, that the characteristic and unmistakable
style of God is that he tends to bring about
the greatest things in the simplest and most humble way;
his work is always silent and non-spectacular, but these humble
and discreet gestures, such as the beginning of the Church
in Galilee, have a great renewing strength.
|"God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: He is the base of our hope."|
Christ wants to rein
in the "small and decisive world that is the heart
of man" -- to use the Pope´s words -- and
in every home. This World Meeting of Families has been
like a Pentecost, where we have asked the Holy Spirit
to transform us. In turn, I think that he asks
us, in these times that are not easy, to live
like Jesus Christ, with an urgency to do good, in
a state of mission, forming one heart and one soul
among all, just like the first Christians.
Q: During your intervention
at the theological congress of the World Meeting, you stressed
faith, hope and charity as pillars of Christian life and
as a challenge for Catholic families. Why?
Father Corcuera: If we
Christians want to build up the family, we cannot lose
sight of the essential of Christian life, which is to
live faced to God. The theological virtues are the properly
Christian way to relate with God, the backbone that keeps
the family united and going forward, even though other things
might be lacking. If faith is lacking, or hope and
charity, the Christian family will not survive even in the
best of external circumstances.
And the family is the spontaneous
place where children learn to live [these virtues] naturally and
spontaneously. They learn not as a theory but with testimony,
that faith is not fulfilling some commandments out of obligation,
but rather a living response to the love of God,
where the gratuitousness of love is a decisive factor. That
Christ is not an idea, but rather the center of
our life and the answer to every problem; that the
sacraments are not social events, but a true celebration of
the presence of God in our lives, an encounter with
In the family, one learns to live the faith
without falling into routine, but as something alive that is
renewed and grows, that is shared without fears, that unites
in love. In the family, children learn from the parents
and the older siblings to speak with God, to listen
to him, to follow his will, to go beyond suffering
and sadness. And in the family, love is learned, which
gives meaning to everything and without which, nothing would have
Forgiveness is learned, and compassion, patience, justice; one learns to
pardon, to speak well, to think well, to flee from
criticism and all that which could make the soul die.
In seeing their parents live like this, children open themselves
to the ultimate realities of life, and discover the value
of time faced to eternity.
Within the family is where
one understands that God is Father and that loving him
is man´s greatest happiness. The family becomes, even in the
midst of difficulties, a paradise on earth. And this world
needs little paradises that irradiate the transforming strength of the
love of God.
Q: Let´s talk about hope. With all of
the statistical data and the gradual decline of the family,
what can be a basis for hope in this reality?
Corcuera: Benedict XVI said it very clearly at the end
of the meeting: "The Christian response to the challenges …
consists in intensifying trust in the Lord and the vigor
that springs from one´s faith, which is nourished by attentive
listening to the Word of God." And also at the
end of the World Meeting of 2006 in Valencia, he
insisted that if couples remain open to the Spirit and
ask his help, he will not fail to communicate to
them the love of God the Father manifested in Christ,
helping the couple to collaborate with him to reflect him
and incarnate him, and stirring up the desire for the
encounter with Christ.
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit: He
is the base of our hope. The testimonies of families
from all over the world, which we have shared in
this meeting, are a sign that God acts when his
children open ourselves to his grace, despite our limitations, weaknesses
and falls. He is the example of the perfect Father,
of the perfect Son, of the perfect Brother and the
perfect Friend. As he is, that´s how he teaches us
to be in the world. It is the Spirit that
works and we collaborate with him.
It is also very important
that joy is lived in the family, as an essential
characteristic of the virtue of hope. An authentic joy, which
is like one who already reflects the beauty of heaven
in the home. And from this virtue, also in the
family one learns to take advantage of time, because he
becomes aware, above all before the events that are lived
together, of the brevity of our life and that it
is worthwhile to take each day faced to eternity, each
day as the only day of our lives. It´s there
also that the family participates together in the apostolate, being
missionaries of Christian hope, because they go teaching with their
words and their example that everything brings us to heaven,
to the eternal embrace with God.
Q: What relationship is there
between the family and personal happiness? Is the family irreplaceable?
Corcuera: We are happy when we are loved and we
love. The family is the privileged place to experience this
profound love, which is most similar to the love of
God, because in the family, we are loved without conditions,
because of who we are, not because of what we
do or have; [our family] doesn´t love us because of
our qualities or capacities or fail to love us because
of our limitations and defects. This unconditional-ness and gratuitousness in
love, though we are not always capable of loving this
way, is a reflection of the love of God.
us as God sees us. Parents are a privileged witness
of the infinite value of the life of children. They
have participated in the miracle, but they know they are
not the authors, that not everything has been in their
hands. Thus they get a glimpse of the gift that
is life, the divine that is in it. The family
is the suitable and irreplaceable place, according to the plans
of God, for the encounter with Christ, because it is
called to be a mirror of the love of God.
The family becomes a true home, like in Nazareth, where
joys and sadnesses are shared, and where it can be
said that the attitude is formed of being just one
body, one soul and one heart.
The base of this
is found in prayer, and in particular, in family prayer.
How right indeed was Father Peyton, when he said that
"the family that prays together stays together." We can also
say that the family is happier in the measure in
which it gives and supports, like in the missionary family.
In this case too we could say that the family
that prays together, and that together does good by spreading
the Gospel, remains even more united.
Q: What is God asking
today of the Regnum Christi Movement you direct so as
to respond to the challenges that families face today?
Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ only have meaning
in the Church and for the Church, and God speaks
to us through our pastors. Last December, Cardinal Franc Rodé,
prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Societies of Apostolic Life, visited the works of Regnum Christi
in Chile and Brazil. And during the conference that he
gave in Santiago, he left the families of Regnum Christi
with the guideline of making Christ present always and everywhere.
he told us: "Live your spiritual and apostolic charism in
plenitude, grow to arrive to more people, and form yourselves
very well. The world of today needs apostles who can
guide their brothers in the good and the truth."
days later in Brazil, he reminded us that we should
always be "joyful men and women who transmit Christ, the
true joy of every human being." This is what God
asks us: to share the discovered gift.
This is something that
we see simply as servants, with humility, because this gift
is not a fruit of our qualities, but rather it
is something received for the good of men, our brothers.
If we value this gift, it is because we believe
that it is a sign of the love of God
and it makes us unite ourselves intimately with other groups,
movements and realities in the Church, in the common mission
of bringing the love of God. It makes us support
and learn, so that in the end, more people come
to discover the most marvelous truth of life: that God