The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, the Sodalitium of Christian Life, is a lay Society of Apostolic Life of pontifical right, whose members, laymen and priests, calling themselves Sodalits, recognize in their lives the call to follow the Plan of God, aspiring to conform themselves with the Lord Jesus through Marian filial piety and striving to be fully available for the announcement of the Gospel in the diverse human realities.
Love, which manifests the passing from death to life, constitutes the essence of the spirit of the Sodalitium, whose members, leading a fraternal life in common, aspire to live a Christian life that is full and perfect in charity: love to the Father through the Word in the Holy Spirit, filial love to Holy Mary and love to the human person invited to participate in the divine communion of love.
The Sodalitium, within the communion of faith, hope and charity in the Church, has its own spirituality, discipline and style. These constitute adequate means to help its members to strengthen their conversion and full service to the Plan of God, and create a favorable environment so that each one can allow himself to be educated and formed by the maternal action of Mary in the likeness of the Lord Jesus, preparing oneself to assume, according to each one’s call, the apostolic responsibilities that stem from it all: to participate intensely in the evangelizing mission of the Church, and to seek that the dynamic of the Good News reach and transform whatever is in contrast with the Word of God and the design of salvation.
Sodalits believe that in the economy of reconciliation the initiative is from God who is Love. Making proper use of his freedom, man receives this initiative and communicates it. The infinite love of God leads the Son of Holy Mary, the Eternal incarnate Word, to reconcile humanity with God and to serve men as the model of reconciliation, announcing the Good News through his life, deeds and words. In the altar of reconciliation He makes explicit the mission of Holy Mary to be our Mother. As the Virgin cooperated with the Holy Spirit in the mystery of the Annunciation-Incarnation, She also cooperates in the forging of the newly born Church and continues to do so today.
Walking in the company of Mary, Sodalits learn to live the full horizon of the Christian life, seeking to convert their lives and their work into a liturgical gesture. Motivated by the fidelity to the Divine Design, they participate in the apostolic work of Holy Mary, following her example and cooperating with God’s action under her maternal guidance.
Living in community around the Mother of the Apostles, like the disciples gathered in the Cenacle the day of Pentecost, Sodalits strive so that their whole life might be informed by the spirit of fraternal communion. In it they see an excellent means to live the Christian life and to give testimony that the Gospel constitutes the only horizon of fulfilled life, the answer for the human being who pilgrimages amidst anguishes and hopes and longs for his heart to find peace.
A distinctive mark of the Sodalitium is unity in love, understood as a manifestation of the coming of the Lord who reconciles us. Unity of ideals, of life, of prayer, of heart and of service, conquered by charity and expressed in profound and authentic friendship, solicitude and assistance, and in the longing that the very community may always be a humble and existential sign of the Church’s unity.
In community life Sodalits discover the concrete possibility of gathering together as friends in the Lord Jesus, sharing their experiences of faith, cooperating with one another in order to be faithful to the Divine Plan, coming together as a portion of the Pilgrim People, in peace, justice and freedom, living the four dimensions of reconciliation. Thus, they are for one another a continuous stimulus of fervor, of humility, of prayer, of reverence, of joy, of study, of work, of apostolate, of solidarity.
Living love is not constrained to the limits of the community. Rather, at the same time that it nourishes the members of the Sodalitium it moves them to live not only for themselves, but to reach out fraternally in apostolic service towards others, especially towards the youth; to make manifest a preferential love of solidarity for the poor; and to announce the Gospel to the roots of the culture and the cultures of man.
Aware of the fundamental value of apostolic testimony in the work of evangelization, the Sodalitium seeks to reflect, as a community of faith, its adhesion to Christ the Liberator and Reconciler, in the same way that each Sodalit aspires towards the personal conformation with the Son of Holy Mary, in such a way that he may repeat with the Apostle: “It is not I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me,” and thus develop an apostolate which makes the Lord Jesus present.
Interior conversion is an essential dimension of the change in the world contemplated by the Plan of God. Without the conversion of human beings, these cast upon the world their inner ruptures. Praxis must be accompanied by interior change.
In fraternal communion the person does not lose his individual particularities. On the contrary, he develops and enriches himself through the exercise of charity, which is poured out into hearts by the Holy Spirit. The Sodalitium, deeply respectful of personal freedom, sponsors the responsible initiative of all its members in the common mission, in which all are corresponsible, each one according to the gifts received from the Lord.
The Sodalitium is fully aware that it belongs to the Church, a sign and instrument of the intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind.
Responding eagerly to the institution of the Lord Jesus, Sodalits profess an explicit fidelity to the Holy Father, which is shown in the attention with which they listen to his words and welcome his teachings.
Expressing its participation in the ecclesial life, the Sodalitium seeks to insert itself in the pastoral work inspired by the orientations of the Bishops who welcome its cooperation. Its members remain fraternally solicitous and in permanent availability for service with regards to the life and the needs of the ecclesial community.
A Sodalit is open to the assimilation of means and methods that respond both to the signs of times, as well as to the needs of the Church and of his own apostolate, and which make the presentation of the Good News more easy to be received. Following the spirituality of Holy Mary, Sodalits aspire to be faithful in everything, without yielding to that which is new for the sake of its novelty, nor remaining in what is accustomed for the sake of custom. Rather, they accept everything that is good, in as much as it helps to achieve their goals according to the light of God’s Plan and of the Gospel’s values, which are fundamental and permanent.
The criteria for correct discernment must be sought always in the Word of God and in the teachings of the Church, as well as in the spirituality and norms of the Sodalitium.
The means that the Sodalitium uses to achieve its goals are those that respond to the spirit of the Gospel and the fidelity to the Church.
Among them, the following deserve special consideration:
- the fidelity to the promises of Baptism and Confirmation, in which the commitment to full availability for the apostolate finds its foundation;
- filial love to the Mother, which through the process of amorization leads to recover the full likeness with the Lord Jesus, Son of Holy Mary;
- the consecration to Mary, which establishes a covenant with Her, in which the vocation of apostolic cooperation in her mission of Spiritual Mother is made manifest: to educate in the faith the brothers of her First-born;
- the community life, which helps to live the Christian life to the measure of Christ and to fulfill the apostolic mission;
- the Direction of Saint Peter, in which the apostolic pilgrimage, founded in the faith, finds orientation and stimulus so that, from his interior, the Sodalit may respond coherently to the call to apostolic action and solidarity;
- permanent formation in the faith through reading, study and the perseverant personal and community prayer, especially united to the pilgrimage of the Church in praying with the words of the Sacred Scripture, receiving with faith the Word of God, deepening and meditating in it, following the example of the Virgin Mary, our Mother, and sharing the experience of the Lord’s merciful love;
- the active participation in the Sacred Liturgy with the awareness that the liturgical actions, which belong to the whole Body of the Church, allow us to find the source and the summit of our own life and mission;
- the reverent and attentive participation in the celebration of the Eucharist, the sacrament of Love and center of the whole Christian life, in which the Sodalit sees himself strengthened by seeing his participation in the Paschal mystery renewed; and it is where he learns to offer himself, where he educates himself in the fraternal and community spirit, and where he understands better the meaning of his apostolic efforts;
- the worship of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, Eucharistic adoration and the personal dialogue with Him through the practice of visiting the Blessed Sacrament constitute very special moments in the veneration and adhesion to the Lord Jesus as well as to his Divine Design;
- the understanding of the Gospel’s call to conversion, of divine mercy and the awareness of one’s own rupture and weakness will lead to the frequent recourse to the sacrament of Reconciliation;
- the intense living of the Gospel’s virtues; the permanent exercise of God’s presence; the meditation upon the mystery of the Immaculate Conception and her spiritual maternity; the prayer of the Rosary; and the effective response to the personal gifts received from the Holy Spirit;
- apostolic action, the disposition to service and the fulfillment of duties according to one’s condition and office.
The eminently apostolic vocation of the Sodalitium, its spirit of family and its Marian-Christocentric spirituality are expressed with special predilection in the following mottoes: “Through Christ to Mary, and through Mary more fully to the Lord Jesus;” “Helping each other in order to help others;” and “Prayer for life and apostolate, life and apostolate made prayer.”