Way of formation
Tertullian said that we are not born Christians, but we become Christians. The seed we are given in the Sacrament of Baptism grows as much as we cultivate it.
Spiritual formation should incite us to make an effort to develop proper attitudes, and offers the means to do so according to one’s vocation. This enables us to pursue sanctity in a harmonious way. First, though, we should improve our relationship with God and with other people.
The spiritual formation of adults was treated as a clear priority in the first centuries of the Church, but it was not discussed very much in the centuries that followed. Initially, the community was responsible for the formation of its adult members. Later, this responsibility was taken over by the family. Now, however, families gradually withdraw from this role, and spiritual formation is neglected more and more.
Fr. Franciszek Blachnicki often referred to an old Latin phrase “Agere sequitir esse” (action follows awareness). The action of lay people and their sense of responsibility for the Church come from their awareness of Baptism and Confirmation, as well as their development in faith, hope and love. Only faith and the awareness of faith can foster the strength of Baptism.
The movement founded by Fr. Franciszek Blachnicki aims at leading people to Christian maturity. Without maturity, sacraments are ineffective. The role of deuterocatechumenate is to focus on the Sacraments, which results in the awareness of our responsibility for the Church.
One does not become a mature Christian at a certain age or at a given state of intellectual development. One grows in maturity in the course of their entire life through learning, gaining new experiences, and drawing conclusions from them.
A mature person accepts his/her being sinful and will try to overcome weaknesses and sins bearing in mind that they are still on their way to sanctity. They will learn to trust God, since the lack of this trust is a foundation for every sin.
The way towards Christian maturity
The elements listed below describe the life of a Christian within the community of God and their brothers in the Holy Spirit. Without constant participation in this program, one cannot become a mature Christian.
1. Living in accordance with the Bible – an ability to solve life problems and complications with the help of the Gospel.
2. Living in accordance with the Liturgy, which is the place of a personal meeting with the Living God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
3. Prayer, which is a continuation of the Sacramental encounter with God.
4. Life in connection with the Church community, which is a setting where the personal meeting with God is strengthened through the interaction with other believers in unity and love.
5. Diakonia, which is the acceptance of the missionary responsibility within the community and together with the community.
Stages of formation
The stages of the Light-Life formation have their roots in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Although the stages listed in this document concern the preparation for the Baptism of adults, they should exist under different forms in the life of every Christian, even if baptized as an infant. These are evangelization, catechumenate and mystagogy. Each of these elements has its specific aim, and they all reappear in the life of every Christian.
Evangelization is an encounter with the Gospel, the Good News, and Jesus Christ who speaks in it. It is about discovering Him as a living person who is interested in my life. He is the one who can give new meaning to my life and who has a plan for it.
The first evangelization should be constantly deepened. Once started, it must be continuously cultivated. Every retreat and every prayer lead us to devoting our lives to Jesus. And we must always state the same question: Where would Jesus like to be present in my life?
The stage of deuterocatechumenate begins at a certain point in life, but, in fact, it lasts until its end. Its aim is to become a disciple of Christ and to learn from Jesus.
The third stage is mystagogy. This is the fulfillment of what one discovered during the deuterocatechumenate period about vocation and the community where one lives: the small group, family, circle, the Movement. The members of the Movement learn to serve others in this way.
Any service within the community is a call for future formation. The essence of the formation in the Movement is that it never ends. Every member is encouraged to take part in constant formation, conversion, spiritual development, as well as to gain sufficient knowledge and practical skills.
The pedagogy of the New Man
The main task of the Movement is not to convey religious knowledge, but to teach how to live like a Christian. Fr. Blachnicki proposed many initiatives that he later undertook and developed. He wanted them to be the events, encounters, experiences and actions of the Spirit. The Movement was supposed to be a dynamic and committed action for the development and deepening of people's faith.
The basic methods of the formation program are:
1. The Life-Light method, which is the foundation of all the elements of the formation,
2. The “Oasis” retreats,
3. Formation in a small group.