Directory of the Apostolate


Directory of the Apostolate
Perspectives, Objectives and Fields of the Office of the Communion,
“Santa María of the New Exodus”


1.  We firmly believe that the center of the Gospel is the proclamation that in Jesus Christ the new creation has begun, ending the obstinacy whereby human beings isolated themselves from God and opening the possibility that everyone may attain friendship and communion with God. The new creation does not destroy the first creation, but accepts, transforms and opens to it a path by which it may reach fulfillment. For through the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, every person is offered the possibility of actualizing his or her fundamental calling as a new being—a being open to transcendence—toward which everyone is existentially oriented, having been created to be the image and likeness of God. Beginning with the human being, which is the face, consciousness and leading character in the story of the destiny of the world, the mystery of the new creation embraces all creation.

2. Therefore, for the human being, the new creation means the possibility of attaining freedom fulfilling every potential and expectation. In the process of the new creation two elements converge: first, the free gift that God makes of his Spirit and, second, the free acceptance that the person makes of the divine offer. The person’s free acceptance implies deciding at least to take on three basic attitudes:  the recognition of his or her complete unworthiness and sin; the renunciation of all pretense of self-sufficiency; and finally the openness to allow the Spirit to become the criterion applied in making every decision and the principle used in all personal action.

3.  Within this horizon, the new being continues to develop its effectiveness, and because of its actualization the new creature not only goes on making history but comes to be in history.

4.  The new being is the fruit both of the free gift that God makes through the Spirit and of the free decision of the human being to recognize his weakness and to trust God in faith, but it
does not ever become a possession.  It is always a presence, a dynamism, a horizon that stretches out toward something new and better. Nevertheless, the person experiences an authenticity and the immediate knowledge of its truth. As result of this new reality, the new creature discovers that conversion is required in order that the new being may unfold, for conversion means a continuous emptying what has been obtained, as well as radical awareness of his or her own unworthiness, and openness, always more and more radical, to receive the free and unmerited gift of the Spirit. Thus, the new being is never possessed, but rather is made present, is experienced and is preserved only by remaining incessantly open to being transcended. 


5. The Gospel offers to human beings the possibility of attaining their fulfillment. Scripture bases this possibility on the fundamental structure of the person, namely to be created as the image and likeness of the divine.

6. Various theological as well as numerous current religious, philosophical, literary and other trends have each in its own way tried to explain human existential openness to transcendence as the interpretive horizon and engine of all action and historical development.

7. On recognizing in faith not only the creaturely dimension but also the universal and objective character that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has, we believe that the power of his resurrection, the action of his Spirit and the process of developing the new creation are not only a promise, an aspiration or an eschatological hope, but are already, now, a present and actual reality in all of creation, particularly in each human being, independently of whether or not he or she has conscious awareness of the reality, efficacy, newness and dynamism of that to which the mystery of Christ has given him or her access. We recognize that the process of the new creation is not realized without the concurrence of the human being’s freedom. Freedom, nevertheless, can be mediated and be exercised under a very wide range of interpretations and figures, from specifically Christian ones to those shaped through other religious modes and even secular and explicitly anti-religious forms.

8.  From this perspective, we can draw a series of conclusions that are important for defining the perspectives, objectives and scope of our apostolic office:
8.1.  Above all, we recognize that the presence of the Kingdom in human life is not simply a promise but is a reality that is active as an existential possibility, as an impulse and a dynamic, although the great majority of the world population may not be self-consciously aware of this dimension. This is one of the senses in which we understand in the Gospel phrase, “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
8.2.  As a consequence, the apostolic evangelizing action does not have as its objective the offering of something strange and still less it is imposed or incidental. It can be something unknown—in the case of those who are not Christians—but it is a reality that is actual within each human being and that, although it is transcendent with respect to its origin and goal, it is radically immanent with respect to its presence and efficacy. St. Augustine, in his Confessions, describes this reality as part of his personal experience very precisely when he affirms that it was by entering it that he found his own identity and at its depths the God revealed by Jesus Christ, “You were within me, and I was without, and thus from outside I was seeking you; and I, distorted as I was, threw myself upon these beautiful things that you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Hold me away from those things that, if they were not created by you, would not exist” (Confessions, 10:27). Thus, the apostle is called first of all to be aware of the mysterious but real presence of the Kingdom in the concreteness of the existence of each human being. And this awareness must be transformed into an attitude of respect, of esteem and even veneration for every person. In this way, the apostle’s attitude becomes the mirror through which the addressee of apostolic action can discover in himself the reality of the apostle’s announcement and be open to recognize and interpret that force, active within himself, as the presence of Kingdom, given through the mediation of Jesus Christ.
8.3. So that the apostle can have this capacity, it is indispensable that he develop and live a certain mystical experience. It is only from this dimension, from which the presence of the Kingdom can be perceived, interpreted and conveyed with respect, veneration and solidarity with all. This dimension is especially necessary in the cases when the Kingdom is hidden behind desperation, marginalization and moral or other contradictions. The apostle, to be able to exercise his mission, has to be one in whom, par excellence, is fulfilled the divine vision: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” He is called to be one who, from the depth of his own faith and experience, succeeds in recognizing the presence of the Spirit of the Resurrected Christ, and sees it acting effectively and showing concrete signs of its presence in the life of each person. And this only is possible from silence, depth, contemplation, transparency of heart—the mystical sensibility. His mission, then, does not consist in preaching doctrines, frightening consciences or imposing standards.  To use those tactics would be to mythologize Christianity and make it lose its specificity. It would be, as has in fact happened too often in history, to turn service into authority and power; freedom into subjugation and liberty into submission. The secret of the apostles and the efficacy of their witness no doubt lay in the fact that what they were announcing, however unreasonable, paradoxical and even scandalous it night seem, had the power to become a concrete experience within those who believe. Those who came to believe in the resurrection did not believe so much because of the apparitions of the risen Lord whom they thought to have decayed, but because in their everyday life they lived the experience of the active presence of the same Jesus with whom they had lived, who had been nailed onto the cross and had died. And this can also be said of those who because of their witness had come to believe: the dynamic power to believe and grow in faith did not consist of rhetorical eloquence or physical miracles and even less of authoritative arguments; instead it consisted in the possibility of carrying into experience, into intuitive awareness, in consensus and ecclesial harmony, just what was proclaimed as the Kerygma. The response that, according to the Gospel of John, Jesus gave to the question of Andrew and another disciple concerning the place in which he was living, “Come and you will see it,” and all that those words imply are still crucial in the path of believers’ faith: beginning with following the risen Lord, renouncing every impediment and embracing the faith celebrated in the community, one comes to “see” the meaning of what was and is believed and recognized as the actual presence of the Kingdom through the Spirit of Jesus.
8.4. It is furthermore appropriate to keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to explain the presence of the Kingdom with anything like adequacy, and no less difficult to explain the power of the sacramental system or the means and resources available to those who are explicitly aware of the Gospel, because the Kingdom involves something radically new and unheard of and because it involves a totally gracious and unmerited gift. And so, one who is incapable of recognizing the transcendent character of the Kingdom can very often easily adopt an attitude of self-sufficiency and interpret its mysterious presence mistakenly from a religious as well as secular perspective. In addition, because this gift is so totally new, it is sought directly as such only with difficulty, for it is unimaginable and perceived to be unattainable by human beings. Therefore, being aware that the only thing that a person can attain is irremediably futile, passing, non-transcendent and incapable of satisfying deep hopes, and also facing situations of extremity, one reaches out, looking for ways to make contact with the transcendent so that it may give certainty, stability and permanence to the everyday, which is the only thing that the human being as such can see as possible and accessible.
8.5.  As result, many religious forms and a large part of the relation with the divinity are nothing but instruments, limited to being a means of obtaining some sort of permanence amid the fleeting and transitory, which is all the human being can see. Thus, many religious ideas, images, actions and, particularly, prayer and worship, boil down to being techniques for attaining tranquility and the illusion of permanence in the midst of the all-embracing experience of transitoriness.  Precisely for that reason, religious forms and services that respond most directly to this demand are the most sought after and are those that attract and move the masses most easily. Among the forms that are used most often to respond to this demand are cultic expressions (sacramentalism, for example), emotional expressions (those conducive to experiences that arouse paranormal psychological states), and the doctrinal formulations that stipulate precisely everything that one has to know, say and, above all, do in order to be sure of attaining the salvation one needs (various forms of dogmatism).
8.6.  These forms of expression—cultism, sentimentalism and exalted emotionalism, dogmatism, and so on—with their variants can be identified as elements, more or less constant, in all religions. They also occur in the various Christian traditions among a large portion of the faithful, especially those who are poorly educated or who have internalized very little of their professed faith, and in many so-called Christian countries, it is uncritically accepted as a frame of reference by many sectors that perform intellectual, cultural or governmental functions.


9.  We believe the perspective described above to be the basic paradigm within which we interpret and locate the elements contained in our Fundamental Statutes and our Constitutive Precepts. From this perspective we feel called to delineate some basic criteria that must orient the perspectives, objectives and fields for whatever apostolic commitment that we accept whether it be a personal commitment or a commitment of the communion.
9.1.  First of all, we are aware of the necessity of being formed and continuingly re-formed in various areas, which are presupposed for us to be able to assume a coherent apostolic commitment. Among these, are the following:
9.1.1.  The Spiritual, which constitutes the base so that from the depths of a contemplative attitude we may be able to discern the signs of the times and recognize the presence of the Kingdom in the concrete reality of each of the persons whom we address. To attain the formative objectives in this area, we recognize as privileged pathways: the celebration of the Eucharist, the Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament as well as the cultivation of a personal relation with Most Holy Mary, letting her serve as Mother, Teacher and Model of the attitude that we are called to live.
9.1.2.  The Intellectual: to have the requisite elements that permit us to recognize adequately what is essential and inherent in the Revelation, distinguishing it from the merely cultural and transitory—which presupposes an integral theological formation, critical and anchored in Holy Scripture, in the Tradition, in history and in spiritual experience—; so as to be able to interpret and use the cultural and other types of forms and mediations, through which the addressees of our apostolic office identify and express themselves.
9.1.3.  The Apostolic: to have the capacity to establish plans that begin by recognizing signs of the presence of the Kingdom and then go on to help the addressees of our apostolate to identify the reality and the profundity of that whose presence and action in them we see, although it maybe only in a germinal way. We try to help them in this way so that beginning from this awareness and moving by paths that are within reach—including preferably those that we offer them through Christian mediations—they may let this presence develop progressively within them.
9.2.  A first aspect of our apostolic action to the world outside the church consists in identifying and explaining those signs of the presence of the Kingdom that we may perceive in the addressees of our labor. In this respect we specify:
9.2.1.  An attitude of listening, of teamwork and of constant discernment among those responsible for the apostolic action.
9.2.2.  An awareness that often the “religious demand” of the addressees does not correspond with what we feel called to encourage.  The reasons for this are explained in items 8.4, 8.5 and 8.6 and refer basically to the limitation for interpreting adequately the unknown presence of the Kingdom owing to the fact that it is radically new, free and paradoxical.
9.2.3.  Nevertheless, the recognition of religious demands must constitute the point of departure, of communication and of initial reference for all apostolic work—or if it were the case, in the apparent absence of these, exerting ourselves to identify substitutes for them. And that requires that we keep an attitude of dialogue and discernment with the addressees of the apostolic office so that progressively and from their own experience they may go on putting the initial demands into perspective and walk toward the ideal goal.  
9.3.  Elements that we consider essential in every apostolic action that we carry out.
9.3.1.  The first element is openness and radical service to the Kingdom. We believe that the Kingdom is manifest thanks to the Spirit of the Resurrected Christ who is made present in history to make the new creation and the new being in each person possible.
9.3.2.  Every apostolic action ought to have an ecumenical dimension. That does not imply that we ignore or relativize our catholic identity from whose perspective we act, but if our goal is to see the presence of the Kingdom we have to be open to the radical experience of unity, just as we must also recognize that many elements subsist that are antagonistic to the Kingdom, whose result is that the external and institutional fullness of communion has not yet been attained historically.
9.3.3.  Likewise every apostolic action has a universal dimension in two senses. First, it is universal in being directed to every human being. Second, it is universal through our belief that in every reality, however varied and contradictory it may be, there subsists in a some way the presence of the Kingdom, which we feel called to recognize and encourage.
9.3.4.  We believe that the whole process of developing and understanding the new creation is carried out from the internal power that it carries within itself and from the unique, immediate knowledge that comes along with experiencing it. As a consequence, the experience of the Kingdom and of the actions through which this basic experience becomes concrete is interpreted in the light and the horizon that are provided by this original knowledge, even when expressing it uses a variety of different mediations—cultural, philosophical or explicitly religious. That is valid even for the Christian who, while recognizing the normative value of revealed truth in Holy Scripture and the Tradition, makes an interpretation of the new creation in the light that comes from the experience of the Kingdom; this interpretation is consonant with the roots and content of dogma, but it comes about not by following the path of authority but rather that of inwardness.


10.  We see the following as a general objective of all our apostolic activity: to bring about awareness of the power that the new creation generates, which, begun by the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has been extended to all creation by the gift of the Holy Spirit; in order that from the knowledge of the real and efficacious present of the Kingdom, persons may, by opening themselves to what the plan of salvation is realizing in their lives, make decisions that  are directed toward the fulfillment and completion of the new creation

11.  Holding as the previous objective as the basis of reference, we can fix some specific objectives:
11.1.  For each member of the communion to accept constantly the commitment to cultivate a deep spirituality oriented to contemplation, in order to live, on the personal level and in a conscious way, the process of the new creation, following the example of Mary in Nazareth and keeping as a model the power implied in the Eucharistic Mystery.
11.2  To offer our own life and constant prayers so that human beings may open themselves to live the power of the new creation, being obedient to the transforming presence of the Kingdom in their lives and making all this concretely present in the unity among Christians.
11.3.  To maintain the attitude of contemplative discernment so that one can see the signs of the presence of the Kingdom in every person and reality, exerting oneself to translate this knowledge into an attitude of respect and surrender and into a commitment to help keep open the path that leads to the full manifestation of the Kingdom.
11.4.  To investigate and be open to experience, with the freedom of the Spirit, the several non-Catholic Christian traditions in order to be able to identify the presence of the Kingdom in their dynamism.
11.5.  To encourage the progressive attainment of the visible unity among all Christians, beginning with the recognition of the real unity that exists and the perception of the presence of the Kingdom in every believer and in every church and ecclesial communion.
11.6.  To identify, by investigating and internalizing, the presence of the Kingdom in groups and persons who for various reasons are or feel marginalized religiously, socially, culturally or in any other way, in order to support and encourage the recognition of the fundamental dignity shared in all fields of existence and to help these people find paths that may allow them to get out of the condition of marginalization.
11.7.  To stay aware of the universal character of our mission in order to be open and available to extend our apostolic commitment to all places and categories where possibilities are opened.


12.  Beginning with our general and specific objectives, we can delineate some of our basic priorities:
12.1.  Our priority in carrying out our apostolic commitment is to act in the domain of reality. That is, we feel ourselves called in the first place to exert ourselves to make reality in our own lives that which we want to describe and build in others. We know that this calling implies that we must commit ourselves to our own personal growth as well as to put ourselves in service to others.
12.2. In order to maintain skill in discerning the signs of the Kingdom, we believe it is essential for us to keep ourselves constantly in the attitude of conversion, continuously re-forming ourselves intellectually in the various domains of knowledge.
12.3.  We believe that the commitment to live with integrity, in depth and in communion with God and our brothers and sisters constitutes a prioritized and highly skilled field of our apostolic action; being and doing what we are called to be and do, we are allowing the power of the new creation to continue becoming a reality in us, and because all are part of the one body and because of the mystery of the communion of the saints, this process is acquiring a universal dimension.
12.4.  In order for our specifically apostolic project to be able to fulfill its objective and maintain the indispensable attitude of discernment, it has to be carried out in a team, working from the experience of lived communion within the community. Even those apostolic offices that do not require the work of more than one member have to see and understand themselves as an expression of the entire communion.
12.5.  Within the limits imposed by our possibilities and abilities, we feel ourselves called and open to accept all the apostolic forms of intervention and participation where and when we may believe that space exists for the embodiment and development of what we see as basic and distinctive of our communion.

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