Letter from the General Directive College of Regnum Christi to the Members of Regnum Christi
December 16, 2022
Dear Friends in Christ,
In Advent we prepare our home for the arrival of a very special guest: our King, who wants to awaken our desire to welcome him, presenting himself as a newborn. It is a time to clean out our homes and our hearts, a time of waiting and joy. It is a time to reminisce on the Incarnation, by which the Kingdom of Christ inaugurates its presence in this world. In addition, this year brings us another gift: a guide to seek God in every circumstance of our lives, and also to help us find each other, so as to open our hearts, to allow him to enter and to invite him to remain in us—forever.
Before the responsibility to renew the longstanding and beloved Regnum Christi Prayer Book, the only coherent response seemed to be to follow in the steps of the first disciples of the Master. We wanted to set our gaze on Jesus and on his prayer and ask him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk 11:1). Thus the name of the new prayer book was born. If the heart is the engine of the person, prayer optimizes its output to encounter God. That is what it is about. Man, lost in the desert of life, is thirsting; and the Lord comes out to meet him at every well, offering him living water (cf. Jn 4:5-42).
What is Lord Teach Us To Pray?
Lord, Teach Us To Pray gives continuity to the previous Regnum Christi Prayer Book. It is a guide and an aid to personal and communal prayer, as well as a tool of formation for the lay Regnum Christi member. It draws together a good part of our tradition of prayer, facilitating a prayer life in communion with the Church and the whole of Regnum Christi, from its foundation up to the present.
However, Lord Teach Us to Pray is more than that. In reality, it is the name we give to our response to the motion of the Holy Spirit, to contribute to the renewal of Regnum Christi through the prayer of the laity. For now, this response is expressed in this text, but it does not end here. We trust that this prayer book will be an occasion for all vocations of Regnum Christi to continue discovering how the Lord wants us to pray together.
The renewal of the lay members’ prayer does not conclude with this writing, just as the renewal of the prayer of the consecrated branches has not concluded. The important renewal happens in real life. Prayer that is lived out enlightens this text and will demand its periodic renewal, at the pace of our life of prayer. We invite all Regnum Christi members and all communities of prayer to share their experiences of renewed prayer with each other.
On the Regnum Christi website, there is a ‘contact us’ form you are welcome to use to offer suggestions and share experiences aimed at improving eventual updates of Lord Teach Us to Pray.
Why is there a new prayer book?
The reasons that compelled us to renew this beloved prayer book are many. First, we needed to adapt it to the renewal of our charism and the life of the lay members already expressed in the Statutes of the Regnum Christi Federation and in the Rule of Life of the Lay Faithful Associated to the Regnum Christi Federation. Furthermore, the publication of the new prayer book has been a constant request from many lay members and formators even before the approval of the Statutes. In this sense, Lord Teach Us to Pray reflects a path of renewal that began before 2019 and seeks to promote and give continuity to the renewal, incorporating new fruits. In addition, we hope that the next steps in the renewed prayer of the consecrated branches allow us to grow in some prayers and practices that are common to all vocations of Regnum Christi.
What process was used for the renewal of the prayer book?
The renewal of the prayer book was tasked to the General Directorate’s Area of Life and Mission. Under its direction, various work commissions were formed, coordinated by lay members and comprised of members of all vocations: one for the project design of the new prayer book, another for its redaction, and another for its revision.
The commission for project design carried out a survey with both quantitative and qualitative questions, to which 257 people from 19 countries of our different territories responded. They asked about the level of knowledge, use, and assessment of the prayer book; the possibility to add or remove some of its content; the prayer life of the lay members of Regnum Christi; and the type of tools and means lay members use today to pray. The analysis of the survey’s results was taken into account for the design of Lord Teach Us to Pray, and to make some of the decisions in the process, which we comment on more below.
The different rough drafts of the prayer book were presented to the revision committee, which operated on three levels: editorial, content and the practice of prayer. The final version was developed by the redaction committee and presented to some Regnum Christi section directors, formators and young people, as well as the laypeople of the General Plenary Council, so that they could carry out a prayerful revision and offer their feedback. Finally, the final version was reviewed by three specialists in liturgy and prayer.
The project design committee determined that the new prayer book needed to gather both the tradition of the previous one and, at the same time, the experience of the spiritual renewal begun in the last few years. The disposition of the prayers in Lord Teach Us to Pray is very similar to that of the previous prayer book, though now it highlights the idea that prayer is not just something we do, but that our whole life and its rhythms are also the life and rhythms of prayer.
The current rubrics of Lord Teach Us to Pray focus less on the formal and external aspects of prayer and more on the interior disposition and meaning that some practices are aimed at, in the way of a mystagogy or pedagogy of mystery.
Some prayers and practices that have been in disuse for some years have been removed; others have been modified according to the renewed expression of the charism contained in the Statutes of the Regnum Christi Federation; and some have been added, such as the ones dedicated to the renewal of Regnum Christi.
At the request of some laypeople and according to the quantitative results obtained in the survey, instructions for the Encounter with Christ are included, as well as the Rite of Association to the Regnum Christi Federation, so that the lay members can meditate on it and spiritually renew their association in prayer.
Lord, Teach Us To Pray is already available at www.rcprayerbook.org . We hope it will be a milestone on the path of the spiritual renewal of Regnum Christi, and we trust that it will contribute to optimize our search for God and our intimate encounter with him. Jesus, on his part, has come out to meet us. The King who comes; the Lord who approaches—come, let us adore him!
Yours in Christ,
The General Directive College of Regnum Christi