Part Two: Formation
The second element of the life of a Regnum Christi member is formation.
Integral formation is formation in the spiritual, human, intellectual, and apostolic areas of our lives. It allows us to form a strong and rich Catholic worldview, develop our capacity to go deeper in our relationship with Christ and to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you for the reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15).
The integral Christian is well formed in these four main areas of Christian living. 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.
The overarching objective of lay RC members’ formation efforts is to grow continually towards the fullness of human and Christian maturity to which God is inviting and leading them as lay people in the Church and the Movement. In this dynamic maturity consists the holiness, apostolic fruitfulness, and lasting happiness that every Regnum Christi lay member yearns for.
A Regnum Christi member’s human and Christian maturity is enriched by the charism we have received. Mature Regnum Christi apostles, then, live the human and Christian virtues not only according to the unique richness of their individual personality and cultural heritage, but also according to some aspects of Christian living especially emphasized and nourished by the Regnum Christi charism. From this perspective, mature RC Apostles will show some charismatic “spiritual family traits” in the way they live out their Christian identity and mission. Together, these traits describe a kind of sketch-portrait of the Regnum Christi Apostle.
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.
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.
Formation is Transformation in Christ
Pope Saint John Paul II oversaw a synod on the lay vocation in the Church, and this produced an apostolic exhortation emphasizing the importance of integral formation: Christifideles Laici. In this exhortation, the idea of forming the whole person in Christ, and of identifying four basic and complementary dimensions as a lens through which we can approach that kind of formation, is applied explicitly to laypeople.
After emphasizing the importance of formation for unity of life, expressed as “a total integrated formation for living an integrated life” (#59), Christifideles Laici addresses the “various aspects of formation”. Here, three of the four dimensions are applied to the laity:
- Spiritual Formation: There is no doubt that spiritual formation ought to occupy a privileged place in a person’s life. Everyone is called to grow continually in intimate union with Jesus Christ, in conformity to the Father’s will, in devotion to others in charity and justice… (#60)
- Intellectual Formation: The situation today points to an ever-increasing urgency for a doctrinal formation of the lay faithful, not simply in a better understanding which is natural to faith’s dynamism but also in enabling them to “give a reason for their hoping” in view of the world and its grave and complex problems… (#60).
- Human Formation: The cultivation of human values finds a place in the context of a totally integrated formation, bearing a particular significance for the missionary and apostolic activities of the lay faithful… (#60)
The fourth dimension – the apostolic, missionary dimension – is presented as the one that gives direction and unity to all the others:
- Apostolic Formation: The fundamental objective of the formation of the lay faithful is an ever-clearer discovery of one’s vocation and the ever-greater willingness to live it so as to fulfil one’s mission. God calls me and sends me forth as a labourer in his vineyard. He calls me and sends me forth to work for the coming of his Kingdom in history… (#58)
This special role of the apostolic dimension as explained in Christifideles Laici harmonizes strikingly with the emphasis that Regnum Christi – a dynamic movement of apostolate – has always given to spreading Christ’s Kingdom, to helping each member engage creatively and energetically in apostolic activity.
Excerpt from Our Formation Pathway: A Regnum Christi Essay on Integral Formation and the Journey to Christian Maturity by Fr. John Bartunek, LC
Inside Out: An Icon of Formation
This all sounds great in theory, but what does it mean to us concretely? It means that although our efforts to form ourselves are important, it is God who is doing the work of forming us, through the relationship we have with him.
Christ himself is the icon of formation, and he forms us in his image, as Fr. John Pietropaoli, LC, explains in this video.
The RC Spirituality Online Classroom
RC Spirituality has an Online Classroom on the Teachable e-learning platform that provides courses to learn more about the Catholic faith and grow in your ability to share it with others.
The online courses offer Catholic formation by qualified instructors at your pace and on your schedule through pre-recorded lessons and course materials. The 100 series courses fill in the gaps of basic Catholic formation. Already have the basics covered? The 200 series courses offer ongoing and more advanced formation. The 300 series courses offer formation on specialized topics.
8.To fulfill our mission, we seek to make present the mystery of Christ who goes out to people, reveals the love of his heart to them, gathers them together and forms them as apostles and Christian leaders, sends them out and accompanies them as they collaborate in the evangelization of people and of society.
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.
6. 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.
36. §1. “Formators” are lay members or members of the federated institutions who collaborate in the direction of the section and the formation of its members. They are principally dedicated to spiritual direction, preaching, offering formative activities, directing teams or groups, or directing apostolic activities.