The founder of the Christian Life Movement, Luis Fernando Figari, encouraged the nearly 250 participants of the movement’s 3rd Plenary Assembly to build up the present and future in a spirit of hope, and to “welcome God in your lives and the assistance of Holy Mary on the path towards holiness.”
In his address yesterday afternoon in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Figari reflected on the first two plenary assemblies of the CLM and on the crisis facing today’s world. He encouraged members of the movement to deepen their commitment to the Church, so that with “the realism of hope,” they might work towards building a “more just and reconciled world.”
Recalling the words of John Paul II at the CLM’s first Plenary Assembly in Rome in 1999, Figari said that members of the movement are called to be “artisans of reconciliation” and “efficient workers in the plentiful harvest.”
“The starting point for every CLM member must be his or her identity as a human and Catholic person.” This identity, he continued, “senses a nostalgia for the infinite” and “responds to the anxiety of proclaiming the Lord Jesus as the reconciler of man who offers the key, the way to advance towards the eternal encounter in order to transform the world according to the divine plan,” Figari said.
He explained that CLM members seek to communicate their faith and fervently proclaim that “human life has meaning,” and that changing one’s live and embracing a spirit of hope is possible.
Figari noted that secularism is a “grave threat” that excludes God and his divine plan from the lives of human beings, fostering indifference and a divorce between faith and daily life. “The crisis of faith and the advance of nothingness lead to despair. To me there is a very close relationship between the loss of faith, nothingness and despair,” he added.
Figari warned that while the crisis causes anguish and suffering, for the believer it ought to be an occasion for drawing close to Christ with hope. “With a weakened Catholic identity, faith and love of the Church are also weakened, which leads people who suffer from this weakness to replace it with vague beliefs and to stray from a coherent practice of the faith,” he said.
He also reminded the CLM members that Mary is the help of Christians on the road to sanctity. He called on them to “live the spirituality of Mary, allowing yourselves to be configured to the Lord Jesus in order to thus achieve holiness.”
“God invites us to be his apostles out of love and tenderness. We must allow ourselves to be embraced by the Lord Jesus, so that his light might completely inflame our hearts. Our call is to be a flame that transforms everything with the fire of divine love, illuminating the dark and stormy night of so many, giving them warmth. Only then will we really be able to fulfill the words of the Lord Jesus that have been the theme of this assembly: ‘I have chosen you to go and bear fruit and that your fruit remain,’” Figari said.
Vicente Eduardo Bengoa, a college student and CLM member from the Dominican Republic, remarked that he has felt a real “climate of family” at the assembly. “It must be because we all share the same spirituality. The apostolate is common in all of us and I want to continue learning how to bring the message of the Lord Jesus to more people.”
Jeremy Ambrose, a young Australian living in Sydney, said, “this CLM assembly reminded me of World Youth Day because of all the young people here who have so much enthusiasm, desire and courage to serve the Church through the CLM.”
“I am convinced that the Lord wants us to continue spreading his Word to many places and many people.”
Fabio Brunori, a 23 year-old Italian from Italy, called the experience “an important occasion for my spiritual growth and for learning more about the spirituality of the CLM.” He added that hopes to bring back to Italy “a new way of carrying out the apostolate, a better way that is more attractive and creative, but always in the style of the Sodalite spirituality.”
For Yurina Mariano, a 17-year old young woman from Huambo, Angola, the assembly “was a great experience because I met other members of the CLM from all over the world and I have realized that it doesn’t matter where we are, we all have the same spirituality and the same mission of evangelization. I believe that the Lord brought me here because I can help other Angolans.”
The 3rd Plenary Assembly concludes today on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Raul Vela of Quito, Ecuador.