THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
POPE’S ADDRESS TO CHARISMATIC RENEWAL
July 3-4 in Rome, Pope Francis addressed the charismatic renewal.
Now our spirituality, both in CFC-FFL and LCSC, is charismatic.
But sometimes this becomes an obstacle to acceptance by some
pastors and lay leaders. So we all need to understand how
charismatic spirituality is an essential element of the methodology
of Pentecost and is intended for effective evangelization
to the ends of the earth.
follows are quotes from Pope Francis’ address. I include
my commentary in
was then that Cardinal Suenens got to know Charismatic Renewal,
which he described as a “flow of grace” .... In
the Mass of Pentecost Monday in 1975, Pope Paul VI thanked
him with these words: “In the name of the Lord I thank
you for having brought Charismatic Renewal into the heart
of the Church.”
Charismatic renewal is very much accepted and welcome into
our Church, and is considered a flow of grace and a great
blessing by our popes.
in the homily of that Mass itself, the Cardinal said: “May
Charismatic Renewal be able to disappear as such and be transformed
into a Pentecostal grace for the whole Church: to be faithful
to its origin, the river must be lost in the ocean.”
Charismatic renewal and spirituality are intended to be mainstream
for the whole Church, to become normative in the lives of
Catholics. A life in the Spirit should be the normal Christian
Cardinal continued saying: “.... it is a current of
grace, a renewing breath of the Spirit for all the members
of the Church, laymen, Religious, priests and Bishops. It
is a challenge for us all.”
Charismatic renewal is appropriate for all Catholics, including
priests, religious and bishops.
Cardinal Suenens talks of the sovereign work of the Spirit,
who without human founders aroused the current of grace in
1967. Men and women renewed that, after having received the
grace of Baptism in the Spirit, as fruit of this grace gave
life to Associations, Covenant Communities, schools of formation,
schools of evangelization, Religious Congregations, Ecumenical
Communities, Communities of help to the poor and the needy.
Both CFC-FFL and LCSC have arisen from that grace of baptism
in the Spirit. Note that the term “baptism in the Spirit,”
our use of which some clerics object to, is used by Pope Francis.
year at the Stadium I spoke also of unity in diversity. I
gave the example of an orchestra. .... The model is the polyhedron,
which reflects the confluence of all the parts that maintain
their originality in it and these are the charisms, in unity
but in their own diversity -- unity in diversity.
One of LCSC’s aims is to help bring unity within the
parish, by collaboration of all ministries and groups in the
basic evangelization initiative, which is the Life in Christ
Seminar (LCS). The different ministries and groups, in their
diversity, remain as they are and do what they are tasked
to do, but all work together through the LCS to bring lapsed
Catholics back to God and back to the Church. Thus LCSC lives
out unity in diversity.
is another point that it is very important to clarify in this
current of grace: those who guide. .... there is a great temptation
for the leaders -- I repeat, I prefer the term servants, those
who serve -- and this temptation for the servers comes from
the devil, the temptation to believe they are indispensable,
no matter what the task is. The devil leads them to believe
they are the ones that command, who are at the center and
thus, step by step, they slip into authoritarianism, into
personalism and do not let the renewed Community live in the
Spirit. This temptation is such as to make “eternal”
the position of those who consider themselves irreplaceable,
a position that always has some form of power or dominance
over others. This is clear to us: the only irreplaceable one
in the Church is the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is the only Lord.
Pope Francis prefers the term servants for those who serve
as leaders. In 2007, in order to emphasize servant leadership,
we changed our terminology for our leaders from “head”
to “servant.” Since then, we have constantly emphasized
the call to servant leadership (please refer to my book “Servant
temptation, which is from the devil, makes one go from servant
to boss, one seizes a Community, a group. This temptation
also makes one slide into vanity. .... how many temptations
lead to making a Community suffer and impede doing good, and
become an organization as an NGO; and power leads us –
excuse me but I will say it: how many leaders become vain
persons? -- power leads to vanity!
The unfortunate reality in Christian groups is that leaders
often become the obstacles to God’s work. This is when
they look to pride, power, position and perks.
else are the founders who received from the Holy Spirit the
charism of foundation. Because they received it, they have
the obligation to look after it, making it mature in their
Communities and Associations. The founders remain as such
for life, namely, they are the ones that inspire, that give
inspiration, but let the thing go forward.
All authentic ecclesial movements raised by the Holy Spirit
have human founders. They are keepers of the charism.
ask you for your important contribution to be committed to
share with all in the Church the Baptism you have received.
You have lived this experience; share it in the Church. And
this is the most important service – the most important
that can be given to everyone in the Church. To help the People
of God in their personal encounter with Jesus Christ, who
changes us into new men and women, in little groups, humble
but effective, because it is the Spirit that works.
It is indeed the intent of LCSC to share the experience of
CFC-FFL in evangelization with the rest of the Church, for
hopefully all parishes to take on the methodologies of evangelization
that God has given us. Catholics need to meet Christ and enter
into a deep, intimate, personal relationship.
is another strong sign of the Spirit in Charismatic Renewal:
the search for unity of the Body of Christ. .... We have all
made these divisions in history, for so many reasons, but
not good ones. But now, in fact, is the time in which the
Spirit makes us think that these divisions are not on, that
these divisions are a counter-testimony, and we must do everything
to go together ....
Another intent of LCSC is to provide the thread (the LCS)
that can bind all parish ministries and groups together, in
the common work of massive evangelization up to the grassroots
in working together for the poor and the needy, who are also
in need of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It would be very
good to organize seminars of life in the Spirit, together
with other Christian Charismatic realities, for brothers and
sisters that live on the street ....
One of the pillars of LCSC is Live Full, which is our work
with the poor, done through the No One in Need (NONe) movement.
We do not just look to material or physical help for the poor,
but to spiritual renewal through the Life in Christ Seminar
(LCS) and its baptism in the Holy Spirit.
remind you: Charismatic Renewal is a Pentecostal grace for
the whole Church.
The spirituality of LCSC is the spirituality of Pentecost,
which is intended for massive evangelization to the ends of
the earth. LCSC intends to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization.
with Bibles, with the Word of God, go, preach the novelty
that Jesus has given us.
One of the pillars of LCSC is Live the Word, which uses the
Liturgical Bible Study (LBS) method to get Catholics into
to the poor, to the marginalized, to the blind, to the sick,
to the imprisoned, to all men and women.
LCSC looks to the very mission of Jesus, which is to bring
glad tidings to the poor. LCSC intends to do massive evangelization
in order to reach all lapsed Catholics, especially those in