2. Formation: the Second Element in the Life of Lay Members of Regnum Christi
- Lay members of Regnum Christi begin a journey of formation according to number 30 of the Statutes of the Regnum Christi Federation. This journey helps them to grow in human and Christian maturity according to their state in life, to collaborate effectively in the apostolate, and to illuminate and transform the realities of the world in Christ.
30 §1. To share a spirit and a mission requires that the formation of all must take into account the characteristic features and requirements of that spirit and mission. This formation must help us discover the full meaning of our lives in Christ, be configured to him, and fulfill our mission. Formation should be integral and include all the dimensions of the person.
§2. Each federated institution is responsible for the formation of its members and must take into account the contents expressed in the proper law of the Federation.
§3. The authorities of the Federation are responsible for defining and guiding the formation of the associated faithful.
§4. The Federation should also foster entities of common formation for all members.
Video: Inside Out — An Icon of Formation Fr. John Pietropaoli, LC
Integral Formation: The Four Dimensions of a Balanced Christian Life
The integral Christian is well formed in the four main areas of Christian living – spiritual life, human development, knowledge of the faith, and apostolic activity.
It’s all about Christ. It’s all about becoming more and more like him. It’s about being his disciple, in order to spread his Kingdom in the world.
Ultimately, Christ is the one who will “form” you. He wants to be your teacher, guide, and example. Gently and wisely, from the inside out, he will lead you along the path of trans-formation into him, so that you can reach your full human and Christian potential. If you cooperate responsibly with his efforts, the joy and enthusiasm that comes from being a mature apostle of the Kingdom will become your personal trademark, and your life will “bear fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
Download Integral Formation: The Four Dimensions of a Balanced Christian Life to learn more about how to deepen your own integral formation.
Member Testimony: Michelle Hoffman on Formation of Regnum Christi Members
What a blessing it is to share my experience of how Regnum Christi has changed my life through the formation I have received.
I thought I would start with a personal story to provide imagery of what my life looked like pre-Regnum Christi. Many years ago when my daughter was young, in one of our homeschooling exercises we watched a National Geographic video on the Okavango Delta. The Okavango is an oasis of water in the middle of desert land. Water melts off the snowcaps in the mountains of Angola and eventually finds its way into Botswana, Africa.
Since water sustains all life, the animals of the region are naturally dependent on the Okavango. When the water makes its way into the Delta everything is lush and the animals flourish. But when the hot sun has evaporated most of the water, the watering holes become mud holes, and life in the Okavango becomes merciless and harsh. The video goes on to show a scene where hundreds of catfish are fighting to survive in one of the dried up waterholes. The fish were flopping all around like you would expect a fish to do when it is out of water.
Then something amazing happened. One of the catfish escaped and started crawling on land in search of another waterhole. Inevitably it died, but the catfish reminded me of something, and that something was my life with God before Regnum Christi.
I would always have such great intentions of praying and learning more about my Catholic faith. I looked for ways to be holy, but because I had no direction, no accountability, no support, I would sooner or later always end up like the catfish, struggling and then eventually I would give up for a time, then attempt the cycle again.
Regnum Christi gave me direction and it taught me first and foremost that everything begins and ends with the love of Jesus. Relationship with the Beloved is most important because from there all truths flow. If we don’t begin with Him, we run the risk of forming ourselves with perceived truth and not truth itself. Prayer directs and redirects my heart, mind, and soul to the love and mercy of the Beloved, and from that I reflect with my thoughts, words, and deeds His love and mercy to others.
For myself, a barrier to setting out on any journey of formation is the feeling of inadequacy, rooted in the fear of the unknown. What does a relationship with Jesus look like? Who will help me be faithful to my resolutions? Who will accompany me on my journey? I found the answer to these questions in the well-structured formation Regnum Christi offers its members; through Spiritual Direction, Encounters with Christ, Study Circles, Conventions and living out my Annual Patron/Virtue Card to name a few.
I am grateful for the insights and attention my own personal Spiritual Direction have given me over the years. They have met me where I am at, helped mold my character, and unearthed and tended my spiritual wounds of the past by teaching me to pray through my experiences, giving it all to Jesus. My daily prayer life has also been enriched and deepened.
Through my weekly Encounter with Christ, I have learned to see the world through a different lens. When I see the world in this new way, God can use my actions to change lives, relationships, history, and ultimately eternity. The Gospel parallels keep me focused on Him. They have personally taught me to expect great things from God, and to train my eyes to see these great expectations fulfilled. Zacchaeus expected to catch only a glimpse of Jesus, but our Lord had much bigger plans for him. He called him down, dined at his house, and enkindled in him a spirit of generosity. Jesus completely blew away all of the expectations Zacchaeus had.
I have had some pretty amazing formation through my study circles. This formation and an open heart have allowed the Holy Spirit to work in my soul and further connect my heart to God. He is teaching me to set aside things that take me away from Him. He reminds me that conversion of heart takes a lifetime, and that He is the Divine Physician that will heal my brokenness with time and patience.
Conventions are another opportunity for Regnum Christi members to avail themselves of excellent formation. Including the workshops, mini-conventions, and retreats in Calgary, I have had the great privilege of attending a national convention annually, giving not only the chance to be formed by the presenters at the conventions, but also from all of you who attend with me – finding out about what each locality is doing in their section to provide me further formation.
Building on the wonderful formation we received nationally in Bethesda through the Spiritual Direction Certificate Program, the Calgary Spiritual Directors developed a program for monthly study which has been integral to the way I now direct others. It has caused a paradigm shift that has changed the way I think and see situations. With God’s grace, it enables me to direct in a more perceptive way, based on the wisdom revealed in our group study of the Doctors of the Church and experienced Spiritual Directors. With all of these great blessings we have received over the past five years of this program, we have also been able to support the diaspora we serve who have been interested in this style of study.
Being in Regnum Christi has also taught me that it is my responsibility to identify my specific needs for formation. We live in an age where there are so many resources readily available to form us! What an exciting time to be Catholic and to pursue my holiness through the means the Holy Spirit has called me personally through the gift of this Regnum Christi Federation.
Our Formation Pathway: Integral Formation and the Journey to Christian Maturity by Fr. John Bartunek, LC
Regnum Christi has always been passionate about integral formation—the ongoing pilgrimage of faith that gradually leads us to greater and greater intimacy with God, apostolic fruitfulness, and personal fulfillment. Integral formation is not only an instrument that enables us to evangelize better, the way training enhances an athlete’s performance during the actual competition, but rather, our own formation actually comprises, at least in part, the building up of Christ’s kingdom. Formation certainly prepares us for our Christian mission, but at the same time it is our mission; integral formation builds up Christ’s kingdom within us.
Until Christ Be Formed in You: Our Approach to Formation in Regnum Christiby Fr. Daniel Brandenburg, LC
The story of formation in Regnum Christi is a critical one. After all, none of us is perfect. We all need formation. It seems that three questions about formation in Regnum Christi have been adequately answered already: we know why we seek formation (for the mission), we know what kind of formation to seek (integral), and we know the tools at our disposition to form ourselves. But there is another question that seems less adequately resolved: how do you form someone? In this Essay, Until Christ Be Formed in You, we will explore this how in three chapters: (1) How not to form someone, (2) How Jesus formed his disciples, and (3) Implications for Regnum Christi. By the end of this essay, you won’t have all the answers, but you’ll have a clearer picture about how to form someone.