Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,
It has been a joy to celebrate two baptisms over the last two weeks for our two members of RCIA: Ali Marry and Alissa Janik. Typically, they would have been baptized at the Easter Vigil, but that of course was rearranged like everything else! It is an inspiration watching them grow in their walk with the Lord. It is a reminder for all of us that we are all meant to continue growing in our own relationship with God. Please continue praying for them.
I want to continue the series on developing and living our spiritual plan that Craig Pohl shared on our recent staff retreat. That plan has four elements: prayer, community, study/catechesis, and apostolate.
This week I want to focus on the second part of that plan: community. Christian community looks at those people we can really walk with in an intentional way. For many of us, when we think of community, what comes most immediately to mind is our parish families. We are a community and we support each other. This level of community is a critical piece of our Christian life, but the point Craig is making is that it shouldn’t be our only source of community.
The challenge is to find within that large community of faith a smaller group of people that we can walk with on a deeper level. This is a group of people that we are close with, probably friends with, but also intentionally work with to help each other live better the spiritual life. At times, we can be uncomfortable talking about our spiritual lives. These groups are a context where we can begin to articulate what we see God doing, ways we are growing, or roadblocks we are encountering. There are many forms these groups can take. Here are a few examples:
Bible Study. Obviously, this group is centered around studying Scripture together. It is smaller, and within that setting people begin to share how what we are studying is touching one part of their life or another.
Focused small groups. I think of my Mom, who has been part of a group for moms whose son (or sons) are in seminary. They meet once a month to share their experiences, help each other with practical questions, and pray for each other and us. A group like that can be formed around any specific situation—moms’ groups, dads’ groups, school parent group, etc. The key is that the group has a spiritual component when they meet together.
Accountability Group. I am not sure what to call this kind of group, so I simply call it by the role it plays in my life. This is a specific group that helps us make sure we are staying true to God and continuing to grow. I meet with my four classmates once a month (when there isn’t a pandemic) to pray together and for each of us to share how things are going—both good and bad. It is a real blessing to have a setting like that with brothers in the Lord who can help keep me on track.
These are just three examples out of many. May they help us ponder that question from Craig: what is my Christian community? Who are the people who I really can walk with? Look for a community, but also don’t be afraid of starting one yourself—it can be the seeds of great growth not only for you, but for many others.