The 5th Dimension of a Regnum Christi Member- Personal Accompaniment
(From the draft statutes (June 2016))
- The mission of forming convinced apostles who aspire to the fullness of life in Christ requires accompaniment. In Regnum Christi, accompaniment is understood as close, constant and generous personal attention. It is meant to help people be open to grace and collaborate with it so they can respond to the questions and challenges they face. Both the one who accompanies and the one accompanied seek God, who comes to meet us on our path in each other.
- Accompaniment in Regnum Christi (see no. 38) is a shared responsibility between the lay member, who ought to seek it, and the Movement, which must offer it.
- Movement lay members seek regular spiritual direction as a traditional means offered by the Church for spiritual growth. Through it, they learn to discern God’s will and to embrace it with love.
- The team leaders accompany each member of their teams, helping each one as a friend and brother or sister on their path of personal and apostolic growth through frequent dialogue.
From the Regnum Christi Member Handbook:
338 The Gospel speaks of personal, unique encounters with Christ. It speaks of true, face-to-face communication with the Lord. Jesus knows how to speak to and look after the multitudes, but at the same time he always seeks the heart of every man and woman.
339 In addition, faith is an event that touches the innermost core of each person. Man’s response to redemption and Christ’s call can only proceed from the very depths of who he is, from where he expresses his unique originality and his capacity to perceive and welcome the loving gaze of the Master.
340 The person-to-person principle is an expression of charity. The degree to which we love people is the degree to which we feel concern and take a sincere interest in each one, in their well-being and personal fulfillment, their formation and holiness and generally speaking, in their overall good.
341 In keeping with this principle, the Movement adopts into its methodology all those means that contribute to personalized attention such as spiritual direction, personal dialogue and support for each member in their personal and family needs. Also, as far as possible it tries to have each one participate in the apostolates that are best suited to his state of life, nature and circumstances, thus allowing him to develop his personal qualities and talents.
342 Lastly, it is important not to let the organizational tasks and the institutional structures stifle our attentiveness, cordiality and family spirit in our interaction with others.
From the Church:
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 169-173
Personal accompaniment in processes of growth
169. In a culture paradoxically suffering from anonymity and at the same time obsessed with the details of other people’s lives, shamelessly given over to morbid curiosity, the Church must look more closely and sympathetically at others whenever necessary. In our world, ordained ministers and other pastoral workers can make present the fragrance of Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze. The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this “art of accompaniment” which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5). The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life.
170. Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom. Some people think they are free if they can avoid God; they fail to see that they remain existentially orphaned, helpless, homeless. They cease being pilgrims and become drifters, flitting around themselves and never getting anywhere. To accompany them would be counterproductive if it became a sort of therapy supporting their self-absorption and ceased to be a pilgrimage with Christ to the Father.
171. Today more than ever we need men and women who, on the basis of their experience of accompanying others, are familiar with processes which call for prudence, understanding, patience and docility to the Spirit, so that they can protect the sheep from wolves who would scatter the flock. We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders. Only through such respectful and compassionate listening can we enter on the paths of true growth and awaken a yearning for the Christian ideal: the desire to respond fully to God’s love and to bring to fruition what he has sown in our lives. But this always demands the patience of one who knows full well what Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us: that anyone can have grace and charity, and yet falter in the exercise of the virtues because of persistent “contrary inclinations”.In other words, the organic unity of the virtues always and necessarily exists in habitu, even though forms of conditioning can hinder the operations of those virtuous habits. Hence the need for “a pedagogy which will introduce people step by step to the full appropriation of the mystery”.Reaching a level of maturity where individuals can make truly free and responsible decisions calls for much time and patience. As Blessed Peter Faber used to say: “Time is God’s messenger”.
172. One who accompanies others has to realize that each person’s situation before God and their life in grace are mysteries which no one can fully know from without. The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions (cf. Mt 18:15), but without making judgments about their responsibility and culpability (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37). Someone good at such accompaniment does not give in to frustrations or fears. He or she invites others to let themselves be healed, to take up their mat, embrace the cross, leave all behind and go forth ever anew to proclaim the Gospel. Our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others, and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and their readiness to grow.
173. Genuine spiritual accompaniment always begins and flourishes in the context of service to the mission of evangelization. Paul’s relationship with Timothy and Titus provides an example of this accompaniment and formation which takes place in the midst of apostolic activity. Entrusting them with the mission of remaining in each city to “put in order what remains to be done” (Tit 1:5; cf. 1 Tim 1:3-5), Paul also gives them rules for their personal lives and their pastoral activity. This is clearly distinct from every kind of intrusive accompaniment or isolated self-realization. Missionary disciples accompany missionary disciples.