April 20, 2019
To all of the members of Regnum Christi
Very dear in Jesus Christ:
The Easter liturgy shouts and sings: the Lord has risen, Alleluia, Alleluia! Truly he has risen, Alleluia, Alleluia! It is the Paschal feast of the Lord, and we are called to proclaim this message with joyful voices and lives that bear testimony.
The strength of Jesus’ resurrection is also resuscitating, and because of this, the whole Church is called to new life. Easter is a call to all Christians. A new life exists. Come out of the tomb to experience the joy of the Risen Lord!
Come out from the tomb to enter into life! This is the constant call of the Risen Jesus to each one of our hearts. “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.” (Colossians 3: 1)
We can consider different types of tombs. The first kind of tomb is being enclosed in oneself. It is the tomb of the apostles locked in the Cenacle. Another is the tomb of doubt and disbelief, and this is the tomb of the disciples of Emmaus. A third could be the tomb of sadness and bitter tears, like those of Mary Magdalene, because difficult circumstances in the present moment do not allow us to see a complete reality.
At the invitation of Pope Francis to be a living Church that goes out, we, as members of Regnum Christi, want to welcome and listen to this call. Let us leave the tomb! Let us be a community of apostles on a mission! The Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit that the Holy Father just published on March 25, 2019, asks us to do this very thing, recalling the son of the widow of Naim who was resurrected (Luke 7:14). It invites us to a new life. Let us go out then, liberated from the chains of death!
If you have lost your inner vitality, your dreams, your enthusiasm, your optimism, and your generosity, Jesus stands before you as once he stood before the dead son of the widow, and with all the power of his resurrection he urges you: “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Christus Vivit 20)
Self-centered individualism is one of the most tempting aspects of our society. It prevents us from “going out,” it makes people believe themselves isolated, and that the individual only exists for himself and through his own power. This tomb leads to death because it makes us incapable of living in communion with others, in the profound joy of the communion of the living saints in which we recognize that the Lord has made us for each other, for the common enrichment of all. That is precisely what we see in Peter and John when they run to meet the Risen Christ, going out of themselves, realizing that they do not exist only for themselves, but that there is an Other, someone outside of themselves that attracts them in such a way that they are willing to risk their whole life to discover him (John 20:3-10). And once they have found that Other, they come and believe. It is this encounter that makes them capable of the proclamation of Life, which is faith. This experience is what transforms them into apostles.
Similarly, every member of Regnum Christi, like every Christian, is called to experience this dynamism of a personal encounter with the Love that takes you out of yourself, that makes you go out to meet the Lord wherever you discover him, to see and proclaim in faith that he has risen. It is this experience that, through us, makes Regnum Christi truly an apostolic movement that goes out.
The second grave that we could lay dead inside is systematic and existential doubt, so prevalent in the children of our time. This tomb is extremely poisonous because the way out seems beyond reach when we feel like we are several meters underground. The person who allows themselves to be found in this tomb feels locked in darkness with no way out, unable to escape the trap.
Such were the two disciples of Emmaus: they walked out of Jerusalem and away from the solution they needed. They fled, wandering, overwhelmed by their doubts as they went along the road, unable to get out of themselves and see the Truth before their eyes–the Truth that was able to take them out of that existential doubt (Luke 24:13-35). At times we have been scandalized by the darkness of evil in our lives, by the sins in the Church; and we have doubted that a solution is really possible, a way out through which we can discover the Truth, the Life and the Way (John 14: 6). Faced with this tomb, the only one who is able to make us go out is the Lord Himself, manifesting himself as present and merciful in the breaking of bread, which is in reality Christ himself, dead on the cross and resurrected for each one of us.
What are your doubts, your anxieties? What darkness do you need to overcome today to go out of the tomb and be a living member of Regnum Christi, one who is able to run and proclaim to others the greatness of the news that Christ lives? Let us experience in our hearts the joy of already being in a new stage of Regnum Christi, one in which we can dedicate ourselves with renewed strength to the apostolate and to evangelization.
A third, among many other possible tombs, is the sadness that springs from the interior of the soul and emerges uncontrollably, like the sorrowful weeping of Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18). It is a bitterness of soul that obscures the ability to see inside ourselves and discover the Lord himself present in our hearts, even amid the deepest and most profound sorrows of our lives.
“How will I repay the Lord for all the good he has done for me? I will raise the cup of Salvation, invoking your name, Lord!” (Psalm 115). This prayer is called to be the prayer of each one of us, though we may be nailed to our own personal crosses, knowing that the Risen Christ is present, that the suffering in our personal lives and in our life as Regnum Christi has a meaning and that death is not the last word. “Where is, oh Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians15:55).
When we see and touch the wounds of the Risen Jesus, they can make our hearts joyful and make it possible for us to confess our faith as St. Thomas did: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
From this experience of encounter with the Risen Christ we must go out into the streets enthusiastically, no longer desperately seeking the Love of our lives (cf. Song of Songs 3), but sharing this Love, especially with those most in need of a personal encounter with him.
The Pope says in his Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit:
“Jesus is risen, and he wants to make us sharers in the new life of the resurrection. He is the true youthfulness of a world grown old, the youthfulness of a universe waiting “in travail” (Romans 8:22) to be clothed with his light and to live his life. With him at our side, we can drink from the true wellspring that keeps alive all our dreams, our projects, our great ideals, while impelling us to proclaim what makes life truly worthwhile.” (Christus Vivit 32)
I pray to God that this Easter is an occasion for each one of us to renew the experience of the liberating love of our Risen Lord, and that this will make us go out from our personal and institutional tombs once and for all, making us capable of a proclamation of faith, not in ourselves, but in Him and from Him, who has died and risen for us.
May Mary, Queen of the Apostles, accompany us!
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil, LC