VATICAN CITY, FEB. 13, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II´s initiative at Pentecost 1998 to encourage unity among the new movements and ecclesial communities has taken a step forward.
Founders and leaders of some of these organizations met last week in Rome to discuss a specific item: how to show Christian love to the world. The meeting, held at the Center of Higher Studies of the Legionaries of Christ, gathered the charisms that inspire the life of 70 million Christians worldwide.
In line with previous meetings, the agenda highlighted a specific proposal: to collaborate “in the flowering of Christ´s charity, exactly as it was seen by Christians of the first century of the Church´s history.”
The leaders of these movements and communities, which are post-Vatican Council II signs “of the new springtime of the Church,” as John Paul II has explained on several occasions, were also responding to a specific suggestion of the Holy Father in the apostolic letter “Novo Millennio Ineunte,” which closed the Jubilee year.
“If we have truly contemplated the face of Christ … our pastoral planning will necessarily be inspired by the ´new commandment´ which he gave us: ´Love one another as I have loved you´,” the Pope wrote in section No. 42.
As a proposal, Father Marcial Maciel, founder and general director of the Legionaries and the Regnum Christi Movement, offered this: Christian charity in thought, word and deed, which implies efforts to moved away from criticism, slander, division and especially calumny.
Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant´Egidio Community, said that in trying to live out this commitment, it is not a matter of forming a common front, but of being the “leaven.” It is not about creating structures, but about living the love of the Gospel in every day life, he said.
This love, said Jesús Carrascosa, director of the International Center of Communion and Liberation, allows each reality to be open to, and surprised by, the charism received by other individuals and other realities of the Church, to the point of considering them one´s own.
Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare Movement, spoke about the love experienced not only among Christians, but also with Hindus and members of other religions, which she saw during her trip to India last month, when she received one of the most prestigious awards of the country´s Hindu associations.
Salvatore Martínez, coordinator in Italy of the Charismatic Renewal, said that love is grace. And he emphasized the need for Christians, especially pastors and superiors of new movements and communities, to ask God the Father for this grace.
Frances Rupert, general coordinator of the Christian “Cursillos,” suggested that the commitment, resulting from the meeting, should become something concrete in the different apostolates of the new communities as they proclaim the Gospel.
The definitive synthesis is in “Novo Millennio Ineunte”: “Many things are necessary for the Church´s journey through history, not least in this new century; but without charity (agape) all will be in vain,” the Holy Father cautioned.