The world is in need of liberation, liberation that only Christ can offer. God, who called us to be, ‘Heralds of God’s Kingdom,’ sends us out into the world to ‘make disciples of all peoples’. All peoples need liberation. Trapped in sin and oppressed by the unjust structures of society, people live apathetic lives not knowing the truth that, made in the image and likeness of God, they were called to live in dignity as children of God. Blessed with intellect and will, men and women are endowed with freedom to make choices, free choices, to live as God’s children, freely accomplishing his will. In this lies their human dignity. Thus did Mary respond with her Fiat, to make happen God’s will for our salvation.
The Christian Life Seminar [CLS] is about making decisions. Living the Christian Life is about modifying one’s behaviour based on the consistent choices in favour of the gospel that one makes on a daily basis. Formation and pastoral care in CFCI is about enlightening our brothers and sisters and helping them to freely make these consistent choices. The grace of God is poured out abundantly to enable us to accomplish these purposes (Phil 2:13).
We in Couples for Christ India do not invite people to join CFCI; we invite them instead to our Christian Life Seminars (and Youth and Kid Camps) where we present the good news of Jesus to all who are willing to listen. It is crucial to the dignity of each person that we do not force or manipulate them to join CFCI. We are called to enlighten them with the Gospel that they may see the choices before them and decide freely one way or the other. Before man is life and death; whichever he chooses shall be given him.
The CLS leads the participants to make three important decisions:
- To repent or turn to dependence on the Lord God
- To yield to the Holy Spirit
- To commit oneself to make Christ and His Kingdom present in this world by embracing the life and mission of a community one is called to.
To decide freely as befits the dignity of a human being one must be liberated from ignorance, the lack of knowledge. The CLS (and later other formation programmes) seeks to liberate people from ignorance. Thus one cannot freely turn to the Lord if one does not know that God loves him personally. One will not turn to Jesus unless one knows that he is the Son of God, sent by the Father to be one’s personal Lord and Saviour. One will never embrace God’s way for one’s life if one does not know that to be a Christian means entering into a trusting and loving relationship with one’s Father God. One’s decision to repent is the fruit of this realization. One could consciously choose to refuse to repent [that’s the meaning of free will]; but failure to know these basic truths could lead one to be afraid of friendship with God and choose to depend of one’s own strength and wisdom for liberation. One’s decision to repent must then manifest itself in specific behavioural changes such as seeking God’s forgiveness and grace to overcome sin in sacramental reconciliation, striving to lead a holy life as befitting a new creation. The CLS then continues with its presentation of the Christian ideal of loving God and neighbour especially in the context of the family in this our modern world. One’s decision to yield to the Holy Spirit springs forth from this realization. The decision to yield to the Holy Spirit manifests itself in consciously obeying Jesus in the daily events of one’s life and seeking the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin and temptation. As one grasps the call of the gospel to communion with the Lord and His people, one is moved to commit one’s life to Christ and His Kingdom, made present by his body. This leads one to accept community order as the norm for one’s life. It also draws one to work for preserving the unity of the body by the practice of humility and sacrificial covenant love.
The CLS is however not merely a seminar. It is a life-long programme involving the daily practice to repentance, yielding to the Spirit and choosing communion over self-will. Pastoral care in our household structure is then geared to helping each other live consistently by the choices we have made so that the Eternal Word of God may become flesh yet again in our very beings.