The apostolate, through the spiritual writings, offers a way in which contemporary Catholics can understand their relationship to Jesus, yes, but also to the Church and to the secular world and its activities, too.
The apostolate, through the formation programs, offers a path for growth in self-awareness, which will always contribute to greater holiness, greater wellness and greater and greater compassion for self, others and even for the broken and damaging systems which man seems only ever able to create and then recreate.
What will happen when enough people accept a fuller formation? What will happen is that the Church, through a person here and another there, will begin to look less like a broken and damaging secular system and more like a heavenly creation which remains on earth but which points most consistently to the next life.
We, lay apostles, advance into the being and action of the Church through our commitment to the Sacramental life. When we reference Sacramental life in this context, we reference our determination to allow the Sacramental life to transform us. We will engage in a radical acceptance of our own shadow, which we acknowledge, even as we push off from it into greater and greater acquisition of the virtues.
Our presentation of our faith will be virtue based, rather than sin based. We will submit to learning about the goodness and love of Christ in Scripture and seek to recognise that same goodness in ourselves and others and strive to make that goodness grow, expand and develop out into the family, parish and diocese.
Our commitment to the family, parish and diocese will become part of our conversation so that we can build identity as Catholics, part of something greater than ourselves. In those three arenas we will build the international Church into a powerful force for Jesus Christ to become, not just present in the Eucharist, priesthood and in each of us but in our work, our systems of government and the very breath of the earth.
We acknowledge our Father as creator of our home, the earth, and we take responsibility for our impact on the earth, which is for all of God’s children. We, as a Catholic movement, will seek to impact and support efforts which protect water, soil and air, the support for God’s people and creatures. We will not knowingly destroy what God has created and we will begin to examine our relationship with the resources without which man’s life will not be sustainable in certain areas of this planet. God, Himself, will insure that man can flourish in some areas of the earth. We seek to make those areas as many as possible and as large as possible.
We will strive for balance in our own lives, recognising it as a human and spiritual need. This means we will seek to maintain a proper relationship with work and play and also with learning, which we accept must be ongoing through our lives in recognition of the limitless mystery of that which is invisible to us in our current state of being.
Our learning will be curious and happy, with an open attitude toward health and the sciences. We will strive to be respectful toward different belief systems, expecting that people will look differently and wish to concentrate on different matters, even concerning spirituality. One person will be attracted to one expression of the Church and another person will be attracted to another expression of the Church. We will celebrate this diversity and encourage it, knowing that the Body needs all parts.
While we accept that perfect unity can only occur in Heaven, we will aim for unity as a goal in our faith communities, large and small. When disunity threatens, we will ask ourselves where we must move to meet another in a unified place. This type of self-examination will be a part of our way, an ongoing methodology with which to remain open in love toward all of God’s children. We will ‘trial identify’ with others, putting ourselves in their place as a contemplative exercise of understanding another’s life experience, view and position. Even when unity becomes seemingly impossible, this practice will assist us in maintaining our peace. We hope always for union and reunion in Heaven.
Our recognition that we are one ‘stream’ in the Church helps us to respect and hold hope for other legitimate movements which hydrate the Church on earth. Our commitment to the diocesan structure, however, steers us toward that which will assist the whole Church and which is relevant to the whole Church congregation. In that way, we retain our fluidity and the flexibility to serve the local bishop in the needs which he identifies and in the manner which he expresses for our particular diocese. That stated, our methodology will always include the three pronged strategy, combining human, spiritual and catechetical programs which develop people most fully and completely.
Formation of the young will be understood as deeply important to Our Lady, Queen of the Church and also her son, the Returning King. As such we will make it our priority, too, whenever possible, as appropriate, by which we mean that other urgent needs do not take precedence. This balanced methodology will insure that any young people receiving formation from us will be receiving that which is age appropriate, kind and includes elements from all three parts of our methodology.
Ongoing formation for adults, by which we mean increasing the development of personal holiness, will be viewed as the primary preparation for equipping people to work with youth. Unless an adult can identify specific areas where he or she needs to develop greater holiness, that person will be considered in need of greater preparation.
Finally, our efforts internationally will always strive to be harnessed to the needs of the families from which we come, the parishes in which we take part and the dioceses in which we live. This will protect us from any notion that our duty can be abandoned. If one is not obliged locally, one is then free to serve in other arenas. The goal is not to limit or restrict but to preserve and protect the need for contribution and focus on family, parish and local diocese as a means for renewing the Church.
‘Behold, I make all things new‘ (Rev. 21:5).