Re flections on the volume of
Kiko Argüello, annotations 1988-2014
by Gerhard Card. Müller
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
To be read at the announcements
On the Neocatechumenal Way:
On May 15, 2016, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Francis, posted the letter Juvenescit Ecclesia, regarding the relationship between hierarchical and charismatic gifts in the life and mission of the Church. The letter, addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church, takes up a formula of the dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium (article 4), stating that the interaction between ministries and charisms would be understood only in the integral sacramental conception of the Church as the people of God, Body of Christ and Temple of the Holy Spirit.
The distinction between hierarchical and charismatic gifts does not correspond to the distinction between clergy and laity, because the being Christians of all members of the Body of Christ, which is the Church, has a sacramental foundation. Through baptism and confirmation we are inserted in the mystery of the Holy Church; through the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist life in Christ is purified and nourished, while in marriage the spouses are fortified with the grace of Christ. Everyone participates fully to the holy life and the sanctifying action of the Church, and that in all major activities of the mass, of the solicitude for the salvation of all and of charity. What we call the apostolate of the lay people, which is the exercise of the common, royal and prophetic priesthood of God's people, but also the vocation of all Christians to holiness.
And while the holy people of God participates in the prophetic mission of Christ by means of a life of faith and charity (LG 12), the Holy Spirit gives charisms from the simple ones to those "most extraordinary" – like those of the founders of orders, families or religious movements, which “are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation for they are perfectly suited to and useful for the needs of the Church”. (LG 12) Therefore, to ensure that the Church may not be fragmented in its various offices, ministries and charisms but recomposed in its variety to form and build unity in Christ, the Church's Magisterium entrusted to the Pope shall guard for the universal Church over the unity of the whole people of God, expressed in the variety of vocations and charisms and, for the local churches, the Magisterium of the bishops.
In the exercise of the mandate given to them by Christ, the Popes have analyzed, accompanied and promoted the Neocatechumenal Way in various stages. It was Pope Benedict XVI, on May 11, 2008, who gave to their statutes the canonical approval, recognizing also the founders’ charism as an action of the Holy Spirit given to the Church's pastoral and spiritual edification and endorsing this path of evangelization of the world and of the new evangelization for the baptized Catholics.
The sore spot in the Churches of old catholic culture is just that: many of them, despite being "sacramentalized", are not "evangelized"; they have a theoretical knowledge of their faith, but without being rooted spiritually and existentially in it and without being completely permeated by the love of God and of neighbor. Of course, it wouldn't be fair to judge people solely based on this contraposition, which is a general characterization of the state of Christianity in the European-American civilization. And since here it is not a matter of the catechumenate for adults before their baptism, but the matter is to awaken, sustain and fortify the faith according to the model of the pre-baptismal catechumenate, it is synthetically called "neocatechumenate."
We should not – and we do not want to – replace the official teaching of the faith in parishes and schools. The issue is to make a personal experience of a life with the holy and sanctifying Trinitarian God, to share with a group of fellow travelers; to embark on a mystagogical and catechetical journey that makes us capable of following the crucified and risen Lord, conforming us and uniting us to him in love. Word of God, liturgy and community are the three key elements of the Neocatechumenal Way.
On the book:
The Annotations 1988-2014, collected by Kiko Argüello and contained in the book here, don't offer systematic reflections or piecemeal on the themes of faith and theology. They are instead the testimony of an inner journey of the soul and the efforts to gain trust in God not to mention the union with the crucified and suffering Lord. The heart wishes to discard anything that would take the place of God, expanding in such a way as to ensure that the fullness of his love can take home.
But how much good you can do with this book! As Kiko Argüello says: “to proclaim the glory of God by giving witness to his love and his unconditional faithfulness to me who, as anyone can surely confirm, am inadequate, unworthy, worthless, unfaithful [...] If these annotations can help someone, blessed be God.
Two poems to be read:
My days shorten
And I remain with nothing.
I would like to tell you that I love You.
The beauty of the things
And the whisper of you
In the days of my life…(403)
In this life going off course
in this belonging to You
and to death…
My life runs
like the tame waters of that river.
Silently they run
between branches and mountains
and villages and peoples
and that bridge….
And again the silence,
from the forest a howling.
And I feel in my breast
The meaning of my life
which goes and goes.
But my being is contracted,
dry of You.
Off course my life goes
the river runs,
but with You I am carrying
which penetrates and becomes small within me.(307)