Church movements and groups are an essential part of the life of the Church. Let us dwell for a moment on the richness of these movements and groups. They number in the thousands around the world. There are movements of spiritual life attached to major religious orders, such as Franciscan, Carmelite, Dominican, and Ignatian; as well as other spiritual movements, such as the charismatic community. Then there are missionary services, such as the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, or the Pontifical Mission Societies. Youth movements [in the United States] like EYM, FOCUS, Dead Theologians Society and Life Teen. Charitable works who serve the sick, prisoners, schools, and the family. There are even movements present in economic and professional life.
This is the Church of the baptized present and active in the world. The words of the Gospel resound: “I was naked, sick, in prison… and you came… – Lord, when did we see you hungry…? (Matthew 25:35-37).
All of this comes from people touched by Christ at the heart of their lives and sensitive to the needs of the world. Our prayer is first of all an immense act of thanksgiving.
Church movements and groups can also sometimes give in to the temptation to focus only on their services and, for fear of proselytizing, pass over their evangelical roots in silence. “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Such is the evangelizing mission: not to hide the presence of God from others, but showing others how God’s divine love wishes to be given to all. Everyone must be able to hear this message resonate in their lives, which is transmitted through many different means. If the encounter with God in Jesus Christ is a treasure – and it is – it needs to be present in the world, to enrich the spiritual life of all and to be shared. The mission for Christians is to give according to what they receive from God. Many testify that in return for the service they have received, they receive more than they have given: “a measure heaped, shaken, overflowing” (Luke 6:38).
Fr. Daniel Régent, SJ
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (France)