March 14th School of Leaders Gathering
God’s Invitation to Grace and Our Response to It
Rev. Marc Montminy on the 5 Spiritual Rollos on the Cursillo Weekend
The Spiritual Rollos can be complex and deeply theological- Spiritual AdviSOrs should
address the candidates in a way that they will grasp and understand what is being
presented to them. Our idea of Grace can be skewed- we can’t really define it, SO SA’s
should break It down for comprehension.
Book – Divine Renovation by James Mallon discusses Grace- In part of the book, he
discusses an early Church heresy (late 4th/early 5th century) by Pelagius (Pelagianism).
Pelagius said God’s Grace was not necessary for our salvation; humanity was not
corrupted by sin, but from “environmental causes” in the Garden of Eden by Adam and
Eve. Jesus was an example of pure love, to be imitated, and through moral rigor on
humanity’s part, we can save ourselves. St. Augustine countered with his doctrine on
Original Sin and the supremacy of God’s Grace over free will. Humanity was not totally
corrupted from the Fall, but was deeply damaged- Original Sin refers to the fallen
human condition which makes us all prone to sin (ex. Romans 7). Therefore, the
highest human effort falls short of God’s standard for redemption, and thus we need
Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, to save us (John 3:16).
Grace thus begins with God’s invitation to healing/redemption and continues with our
response to accepting that invitation and a lifestyle that is pleasing to God.
On Cursillo weekend, Grace begins with the candidates’ cooperation to surrender to the
Rector/a’s directives (no cell phones, watches, etc). We are Sinners who want to
become holy- how??
Thursday evening begins with the Meditations “Know YourselF’ and the “Prodigal Son.”
(note: in AnCient Semitic culture, the patriarch would NEVER initiate a reconciliation.
We see the Prodigal Father run to his son, thus God Initiating the invitation to Grace.)
We are sinners and victims of sin called by Christ to a deeper relationship with Him.
What will our response be? We can’t save ourselves- we need God’s Grace and a spirit
First Lay Rollo- Ideal- message is to FOCUS YOUR UFE on what is truly important.
Become truly human the way God created you to be.
First Spiritual Rollo- Habitual Grace- Theme: God takes the initiative to invite us into
His life and to partiCipate in our search for Grace. Grace Is a gift of divine relationship
with humanity. We can accept or reject it. Jesus saves us, not we who “earn” Heaven
through our actions. Sanctifying Grace is first given to us at Baptism through Jesus’
death and resurrection. It awakens us to the gifts of God and is necessary to transform
our hearts. We cannot change ourselves through mere willpower. We also receive the
Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit we see with Mary T the Apostles, and the Early Church.
Baptism is our first encounter with Jesus Christ. We also experience grace in prayer, in
the Church, creation, people, revelation, and personal conversion. We gain personal
maturity in faith, a greater trust in God, a spiritual strengthening to battle evil and a
share in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Second Spiritual Rollo- Actual Grace- Theme: Additional Graces given to us by God
when needed. Habitual Grace is permanent, but Actual Grace is given to us for
particular Circumstances, particularly as we enter into active participation in the Mission
of Jesus. We become channels of God’s love and presence in the world. We bring
God’s love into the world and become the salt and light. Actual Grace enables us to see
God at work in the midst of the human condition. God sends the Holy Spirit to help us.
Faith enables us to see the hand of God in all things. References to St. Katharine
Drexel (missionary to the Native Americans and African Americans) and Blessed Matt
Talbot (A reformed alcoholic).
The Grace of God moves us to prayer. Prayer can be very powerful. Palanca is
distributed after this rollo, and explained that the power of prayer and sacrifice is being
done over the weekend to lift the candidates up to accept God’s invitation.
Third Spiritual Rollo- Sacraments- Christ is the perfect sacrament (the presence of
God). We encounter Christ in the Church through His 7 Sacraments, which can make
us sacraments ourselves (notice the small “s”). A Sacrament is an outward sign of
invisible grace instituted by Christ. It is also a true encounter with Jesus Himself. Ex.
Zaccheus, the Samaritan Woman- two encounters with Christ that converted them to
believe in Him. When we encounter Christ in the Sacraments something profound
happens- we are changed. If we want to be fully changed, we must cooperate with the
Grace for it to be transformative. 7 Sacraments divided into 3 categories: 3 Sacraments
of Initiation (Baptism, Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation), 2 Sacraments of Healing
(Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick), 2 Sacraments of Vocation (Holy Matrimony
and Holy Orders). Sacraments talk begs us to ask olJrselves- what is my vocation?
What is God calling me to do/be? Our attitude matters in fulfilling God’s plan for our
Fourth Spiritual Rollo- Obstacles to Grace- Theme: How do I get in the way of the
flow of Grace? SINH “Me, myself, and I” is the greatest obstacle of Grace. We must
ask the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts to be open to grace, and not want to only do
things “my way.” We must choose between death and life. God has the perfect plan
for us. Mortal and venial sins, the 7 deadly sins, and sins of omission all bring spiritual
death. The remedy is to accept Christ, receive Sacraments, study Scripture and Church
teachings, lives of the saints, daily prayer, sacrifICes, and mortifications. Have sacred
objects in your homes, get a spiritual director.
Fifth Spiritual Rollo- Life in Grace- (Sunday rollo) Theme: Our commitment to
personal spiritual growth in holiness. A Service Sheet is distributed with this rollo, with
suggestions for activities to develop our Piety, Study, and Action. We prepare the
candidates for their Fourth Day, to return to their environments, changed and ready to
bring others to Christ.
The spiritual life is at the heart of each newborn Cursillista. It is a journey of the soul
towards perfect union with God. The Cursillo Spirituality is fundamental spirituality- it
bears the Cross- the vertical and horizontal beams. The vertical beam is the First
Comandment- To seek God and to love Him above all else. The horizontal beam is the
Second Commandment- to love our neighbor as ourself. These two relationships
together form the perfect cross of Christ- the Holy Cross.
Conversion is ongoing, progressive, and transformative. Using our Pilgrims Guides and
Service Sheets, Gathering in Small Group Reunions and Ultreyas will help us as
Cursillistas to achieve conversion and Total Security in God’s love and life (reinforced in
the last lay rollo- Total Security). Again, we review the definition and reality of Grace in
At the end of the weekend, the candidates receive their Cursillo Cross with the Great
Commisslon- Christ is Counting on You (the Invitation). And I on Him (the Response).
The whole Cursillo weekend is about Grace, from beginning to end. “Amazing Grace,
how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see.” Thank You Jesus!
Deacon Geoff Ashman on the 3 Meditations on the Cursillo Weekend
The Rector begins by taking control of the weekend. Asks the Cursillistas for their cooperation.
On the first meditation, Know Yourself, the spiritual director basically sets up the course of the weekend. We are sinners and victims of sin called here by Christ for a deeper relationship. Let us begin by beginning to know ourselves.
The Prodigal Son reminds us that we are “beloved sinners” and that the Father will go to any measure to seek us out …. “While he was still a long way off ….
The Three Glances of Christ (third meditation) asks:
“What will our response to Christ’s glance be? Christ is looking at you now; what is your response?
That will lead to the Rollo on Ideal. .. the focal point of our life. What do you do with your spare time, your thoughts, your energy and your money?
This leads to the first Spiritual Director Talk called
This talk is about God’s initiative and participation in our human searching. Grace is a gift. We do not earn it. This grace is a relationship with God, freely offered, which we may choose to accept or reject. There is nothing we can do to make him love us more that he already does. He loves us as much as he loves his mother. The difference is in the response.
So this habitual grace awakens us to the Gifts of God, His life and love. Sanctifying grace is life which we receive in and through Jesus Christ. God is love, God is light. Grace is necessary to transform the human heart. We cannot change ourselves through will power.
This grace is received and transmitted through Jesus Christ. He died for our sins and offers us life in the fullest. He wants us to be reconciled with the father and filled with the Holy Spirit.
He has not abandoned us in this quest …. but has given us the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that came upon Mary, the same Spirit which came upon Jesus as the time of his Baptism and then ushered him into the dessert, the same Holy Spirit that hovered over the Apostles and the early
church at Baptism, is the same Spirit that longs to come alive within us.
That happens through encounters: Revelation … the Word of God, Sacraments and creation.
We experience it through prayer, in the church and through personal conversion. Through Habitual grace we gain personal maturity in faith, a greater trust in God, a strengthening need to rid self of Satan’s influences and a willingness to share the gifts of the Spirit.
In the next Spiritual Rollo the talk is on Actual Grace. Actual grace is granted us by God beyond habitual grace, which is permanent. Actual grace is given to us by God as support in various circumstances, particularly as we enter into our active participation in the mission of Jesus
Christ. In other words, God is giving us everything we need to make decisions as graces members in and with Jesus Christ.
We can be channels of God’s love. And we see this made manifest through Palanca.
So actual grace is participating in God’s love. Grace is the power that enables believers to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. So Jesus sends the 72 disciples to live a life in the Spirit. Actual grace then enables us to see God at work in the midst of the human condition.
Faith enables us to see the hand of God in all things as he promises to send us the Holy Spirit …. the Lord and giver of life for He tells us: “I will send you the Holy Spirit.” Without me you can do nothing (Jn 15:5)
Actual grace is the realization that God is working through each one of us today_ The Saints are beautiful examples of this (Katherine Drexel, Matt Talbot).
The grace of God calls us to and moves us in our prayer.
The need for prayer is seen in a powerful way as we introduce the palanca. Palanca is here to help you accept God’s invitation.
Christ, the Sacrament; We encounter him in the church.
The sacraments of Christ; and the ways in the Seven Sacraments of the church which can make us sacraments. Experience with sacraments during the weekend.
Outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace.
I like to call these encounters with Christ. When Christ encounters Zacchaeus, the man born blind, the woman at the well, Lazarus. Etc …. something profound takes place.
God has given us 7 sacraments to touch us.
Sacraments of Initiation
Sacraments of Vocation
Sacraments of Healing
Obstacles to the Life of Grace. How we get in the way. I myself can the greatest obstacle to God’s friendship.
God has a perfect plan for my life. Love, Life and Eternal Salvation.
But often because of my hardness of heart, I prefer to do things my way rather than God’s way.
By opting for death rather than for life, I find myself in sin. Mortal (the object is grave matter, it is committed with full knowledge, it is committed with deliberate consent), Venial, Sins of Omission or the Seven deadly sins (Pride, avarice, envy, sloth, wrath, lust gluttony).
Remedies for sin: Acceptance of Jesus Christ; Sacraments; Study of Scripture, Church teachings, Saints;
Life in the Spirit; Regular Prayer life; Sacrifices and mortifications; Sacred objects in the home, St. Michael the Archangel Prayer, Spiritual Reading and Direction.
The next rollo is life is Grace. Our commitment to personal spiritual growth. Commitment (service sheet is given.
The Spiritual life is at the heart of each newborn Cursiilista. It is a journey of the soul towards perfect union with God. The Cursillo Spirituality is fundamental spirituality: it bears the Cross.
Cursillo is a lay movement.
The Vertical and Horizontal cross Beams. The Vertical Cross Beam is the first Commandment; “seek ye first the kingdom of God.” The Horizontal Cross Beam is the second commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. Together they form the cross …. the Holy Cross. My conversion is an on-going progressive transformation of the person that God created.
1. Prayer life: Pilgrims Guide and Service Sheet (Piety, Study and Action)
2. Review Grace. Grace enables us to collaborate with God. “Grace is firs and foremost the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
3. Vine and Branches (In 15:4) No good tree will bear fruit and no bad tree will bear good fruit.
4. Beatitudes …. Blessed Way of life.
5. Christ is counting on you