SOL – November 2014

Synopsis of School of Leaders Presentations

November 1, 2014


1. “A case study” on Study; Friendship and Small Group Reunions by Dave Deutsch

Opening Prayer,

PHIL 1:1-11

Study is one of the three legs, but in my own group, not a leg to stand on. Typical excuses for no study: Can’t read, can’t comprehend, fall asleep as they read, eyes too tired from work to read

Foundation; Why Study
Baltimore Catechism
6. Q. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.

Catechism paragraph 158
158 “Faith seeks understanding”: it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens “the eyes of your hearts” to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God’s plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the center of the revealed mystery. “The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood.” In the words of St. Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.

Study Rollo;
You want to know the one you love, and knowledge will increase your love. I see this of course with my wife. I see this in when I meet a new person, or hear of an illness I’m not familiar with. Putting yourself in contact with people gives many invitations for study.

Practical definition per Pilgrim’s Guide group reunion questions:
What have I experienced or read this week to help change my mentality to be more     Christian.
Further, one version of the Act of Contrition says “I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.” Therefore, fill life with Piety, Study, and Action, or it gets filled by default with TV, media, etc

“Case study” of Study
My too large “small” group has now subdivided.
Grouping every Saturday six years; 6-7 at start, up to as many as 12 and counting off by 2’s

Key issues: charism, friendship, depth/intimacy, authority

Lightbulb moment – CDC and friendship rollo; Make A Friend (MAF), Be A Friend (BAF), Bring A Friend to Christ (BFC) not just a slogan

“Restless heart” – large group was good but missing something; no accountability; superficiality; sporadic attendance

And a sense that people who participated sporadically may have believed they were living the Method, but were not.

Compared it to the ideal of marriage versus just living separate lives together. There had to be something more.

Reviewed numerous redundant docs and poor translations.

Recalled reading FICM but unable to buy it…Secretariat only.

FICM is like the catechism vs Eduardo Bonnin’s writings like the Bible.

Looked at the website and saw it was available to all.

Among official Cursillo books, also saw and ordered “True Friendship” by Cuddeback

Cuddeback nails it. Review highlights. Be patient: 60 pages in 10 minutes.
1. Starts with Aristotle, born 384 BC. Human reason alone.
2. He wrote about what constitutes a good life.
3. Evident that there’s more to life than pleasure and material things. There’s something more.
4. This “something more” is important.
5. To live a good life is to be in harmony with what you think is important, hence in harmony with “something more”
6. This he describes as a “virtuous life”.
7. In his opus on ethics, two of ten chapters are on friendship. Again, not inspired by Christ, but reason alone.
8. One could live without “stuff”, but one would not choose to live without friends. Friendship = true happiness.
9. Two kinds of friendship: utility and true.
10.Utility is friendship based on what someone brings with them: popularity, money, business connections. Not bad, but not true.
11.True friends love what is intrinsic to the person. You want to lift them up; you want nothing but the best for them.
12.But you must know what the “best” is, i.e. the virtuous life.
13.Further, true friends want to be intimate with one another, sharing life as much as possible. That is, engage in conversation.
14.BINGO! True friendship = Intimate, deep small group reunion
a. You are made for a purpose
b. Life of virtue is living for that purpose
c. Friendship is equivalent to true happiness.
d. Friendship is essential to a virtuous life; we lift others and they lift us.
e. Intimate conversation is an essential part of true friendship.
f. Note all this comes from a non-Christian: through reason and what’s written on the human heart. We have a much fuller understanding as Christians.

Reviewed docs again; what do the docs say about size and purpose; the IDEAL

Published email manifesto quoting FICM, suggesting split.

My group split happened Labor Day. Early report: Definitely more intimate sharing; definitely more accountability to share “study”

Two further implications:
Evangelizing through friendship IS the Cursillo Method (MAF, BAF, BFC), and so friendships are a barometer of that effort. Expect to see your circle grow. If evangelizing through friendship, it’s possible or even likely your group will grow and need to split.

Sidebar – Anyone know of an authoritative statement on how to run a small group? My experience is run it like a chapel visit. Open by invoking the Holy Spirit. Each in turn speaks to Piety. After all have spoken, each speaks to Study. After all have spoken, each speaks to Action. No interrupting or conversation; as each shares, the others listen. If you want to converse, do that after the group if you’d like. End your sharing with Amen. If you want to pass, just say Amen. Close with Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. That’s the procedure introduced to me six years ago.

Some run groups with each person going through Piety, Study, Action in one long stretch. Some groups fill the sharing with conversation and advice. FICM seems silent, but…structured sharing without interrupting with discussion
1) assures everyone speaks,
2) prevents someone talkative from monopolizing,
3) assures equal opportunity to speak on all three legs, and
4) prevents comments and discussion where none have been invited.

Closing Prayer prayer from Fr. Pedro Arrupe, the former Father-General of the Jesuits.
Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.


448 …After the Cursillo, it is important that one become part of an ecclesial (church) community that will help one develop into leaven. It is, of course, true that such communities are not limited to those of the Cursillo Movement. However, since the PostCursillo is explicitly directed toward the Church and toward conversion into leaven, it is to be hoped that the PostCursillo does offer to the cursillista the best means of such development…

466 …With respect to the purpose of the Cursillo Movement, we could define the Group Reunion as friendship carried to the supernatural realm and turned into an occasion and permanent channel for actual graces; these graces create a sanctifying situation which makes possible an authentic, continual, and progressive living out of what is fundamental for being a Christian…

470 …The most profound form of living together is friendship, and friendship lifted by grace to a sanctifying plane is the best way possible for us to achieve Christian community.

485 The Group Reunion is not an extra event, but rather a form of life itself; it is not an added obligation one takes on, but rather a help toward perseverance; it is not a mere method, but rather a tangible realization of the dogma of the Communion of Saints. It would be very difficult to find reasons to justify missing a meeting, especially if one understands that the most important function of the Group Reunion is to give a spiritual dimension to everything in life – which should, after all, be one’s first priority and greatest joy.

488 …And so the Group is both intimate and open, personal and ecclesial, receptor and transmitter of the Christian life. Only in a sharing born of friendship can there be a relationship that is primarily interpersonal, a relationship based on persons as such. In friendship everything can be shared; all that one is, all that one does, all that one has.

489 …Only in a sharing born of friendship can there be a sharing that is free (because I want it, not because it is forced on me) and in-depth (because it does not stay on the surface, but gets down to the bottom of things). This sharing should be lively and heartfelt, and it should take place often enough and regularly enough for each Group member to be able to count on it…  It is impossible to make hard and fast rules about how many people there can be in a Group, and what type of people can belong to one. No one has the right to choose our friends for us; no one can keep us from any certain friendship, or impose one on us. A Cursillo Group will always have to be a matter of people associating with whomever they wish, and not associating with anyone they would rather not.

493 …The goal of the Cursillo Movement is achieved as a consequence of the way the Group members live their lives, sharing them in friendship with one another. It is only by way of this sharing that each of them gains the freedom to be what he or she wants to be. In-depth sharing should be done frequently and wholeheartedly; it should be done at regular, dependable intervals so that Group members can count on it as a stable force in their lives. Each of them should receive from the others some guidance and motivation for his or her own Christian life. And the participation of each of them in this Christian community should afford all the others the assurance that they too can live in Christ.
494 Groups should be kept small, so that they can be grounded in the kind of friendship that leads to intimacy. This intimacy will grow deeper with every Reunion, as long as all the Group members are being enriched by it.


2. Study of Pope Benedict XVI’s book: A School of Prayer: The Saints Show us How to Pray, with an assist from Luke 6:12-16; 11:1-5 by Deacon Geoff Ashman

A compilation of his Wednesday General Audience teachings from May 4, 2011 until October 3, 2012

Learning how to pray so that we can live our relationship with the Lord more intensely.

We should only pray for things that God already wants to give us, and we should word our prayers so that we can see how granting them benefits not just us, but God Himself.

In ancient Egypt, a blind man praying for his vision: My heart longs to see you.  Create light for me so that I may see you.

Socrates prayed for inner beauty and wisdom, not earthly riches.

The ancient Romans realized that human life without prayer lacks sense and direction.

All ancient cultures realized that they were creations and are dependent upon Another superior to themselves, who is the source of everything good.

The earth awaits a word from Heaven.  This attitude precedes actual prayer.

From the Catechism CCC 2567: “In prayer, the faithful God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response.”

Abraham negotiating with God over how many righteous men would it take to save Sodom and Gomorrah.  Did God want to save Sodom and Gomorrah?  YES!  That’s the kind of thing God wants us to pray for.  Things He already wants to give us.   Abraham asks God to be merciful which is consistent with God’s essence.

God doesn’t want the wicked to die, he wants them to be converted.  God desires to forgive us, to save us, to transform evil into good.

Our prayers should give voice to what God wants.

Abraham couldn’t find 10 righteous people.  Later in scripture Jeremiah tries to find one righteous person.  He couldn’t.  That’s why Jesus had to come, to be that one righteous person to save us all.

Moses later pleads with God to not destroy His chosen people.  Again, an example of asking God for what God really wants to do – be merciful, always leading us toward salvation.

When we pray the Psalms, we speak to God using the very words God gave us.

Luke 6:12-16
Jesus goes off to the mountain to pray. Comes back and names the 12 Apostles. Not the 12 Jesus would have necessarily chosen, but the 12 God wanted Jesus to choose. The Father’s will.

Luke 11:1-5
Lord: teach us how to pray.  Gives us the Our Father.

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Every petition in the Our Father are things that God wants for us:
to call Him Father,
to keep His name Holy,
to help build His Kingdom on earth,
to look forward to spending eternity with Him in His heavenly kingdom,
for God’s will,
for daily bread – not a lifetime supply, ask for it daily,
for forgiveness from God,
that we forgive others,
that we avoid temptation,
that we avoid evil/ satan.