Part Four: Accompaniment
The fourth element of life in Regnum Christi is accompaniment.
Regnum Christi sees personal accompaniment as essential in following Christ. We seek to accompany each other as Christ accompanied people in the Gospel, person to person, discerning and following the path of holiness together. Personal accompaniment can be natural and spontaneous, as in friendships, or more formal and intentional, as in spiritual direction. Pope Francis states that the Church invites 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)… Missionary disciples accompanying missionary disciples” (Evangelii Gaudium).
Accompaniment can be personal, like spiritual direction, or communal, like in a team or community. We choose to pursue Christ together with others, leaning on them and letting them lean on us. The statutes explain it this way:
Accompaniment and spiritual direction
35 §1. Accompaniment is required to form convinced apostles who aspire to the fullness of life in Christ. Accompaniment is understood as close, stable personal attention marked by selfless service. It seeks to help the other be open to the action of grace and contribute their own human collaboration, so they can respond to the questions and challenges they encounter on their journey of human and spiritual growth.
§2. Spiritual direction is a specific form of accompaniment and an important means of growth in the spiritual life.
We’re created for communion
People are starving for community and communion, and while a formative program may be a very helpful tool and a launch-pad for relationships, it is the lasting encounter with others who will walk the journey of faith with them that truly changes lives. The transformation of hearts is not programmable. It requires being a church of missionary disciples who will reach out, encounter and accompany people on their individual journey of faith. Programs and events may be important road maps or stops along that path, but it is the company people walk in who help them find God.
Being a Christian is countercultural. In our busy, programmed, efficient world, missionary disciples need to take up the challenge to be relationship focused instead of activity focused. This means the magnanimous gift of being present for another person and accompanying them as God reveals His plan for them through their unique life, encouraging them to draw near to Christ who loves them as an individual, not as part of something systematically designed to produce a certain result or product. This can be formal in a relationship of spiritual direction, or informal, in true friendships.
While programs may map out the road to Emmaus, missionary disciples who accompany each other (and others) are friends who build last relationships and grow deeper in faith on that road. They journey together, hashing out the events of their lives together with Christ, breaking bread together and finding their hearts burning within them. In her column for the Catholic News Agency Alice Von Hildebrand, wife of the acclaimed theologian Dietrich Von Hildebrand puts it this way “Friends share the same loves and as St. Augustine puts it, in their common love of God, they warm their soul at each other’s flame. This is why any true friendship will inevitably bring us closer to God – the source of Love” (Dec.27, 2015).
Regnum Christi holds ‘personal attention’ as one of the hallmarks of its evangelizing mission. The formation of Regnum Christi members helps them seek, encounter and accompany others in their parishes, schools and communities, leading them closer to Christ. Programs, retreats and missions run by the Regnum Christi are there to form and assist people as they grow, always accompanied by others in relationships meant to last a lifetime.
Personal Accompaniment in Regnum Christi
Spiritual Direction & Team Dialogue
Spiritual direction is offered to members of Regnum Christi as a traditional means offered by the Church for spiritual growth. The director and the member together seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern God’s will in their life and to embrace it with love.
- Spiritual direction focuses on the spiritual life. It is concerned with a person’s actual experience of a relationship with God.
- Spiritual direction is about a relationship. The spiritual life is not isolated, nor does it consist of extraordinary events. It is what happens in an ongoing relationship between the person and God. Most often this is a relationship that is experienced in prayer.
- Spiritual direction is a relationship that is going somewhere. God is leading the person to deeper faith and more generous service. The spiritual director asks not just “what is happening?” but “what is moving forward?”
- The real spiritual director is God. God touches the human heart directly. The human spiritual director does not “direct” in the sense of giving advice and solving problems. Rather, the director helps a person respond to God’s invitation to a deeper relationship.
What happens during Spiritual Direction?
Divine Mercy University, a graduate school of psychological sciences affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ, offers a Spiritual Direction Certificate Program.
In this video, Maria Brackett, executive director of the Spiritual Direction Certificate Program, discusses what happens during spiritual direction.
Lay members of Regnum Christi are accompanied by their team leader, who through frequent dialogue helps them as a friend and brother or sister on their journey of personal and apostolic growth. Your team leader is there for you!
- Team Dialogue helps us to learn and live the Charism of Regnum Christi. It’s a time to learn about your vocation to Regnum Christi, talk about how God is calling you to live each of the 5 elements of life in Regnum Christi, and ask any questions you may have about living the charism in the concrete aspects of your life.
- Team Dialogue encourages us on our faith journey. Your team leader is there as a friend and a resource who can offer personal advice and support on how you can grow in your vocation to Regnum Christi.