In the Cursillo movement we use an analogy of a tripod. The three legs of that tripod are Piety, Study and Action. Last week I wrote about Piety. Today, I want to reflect on Study.
The Study talk is meant to inspire us to get to know ourselves better, to come to understand God better; and by doing these two things, begin to change the world in which we live. This talk is directly aimed at our conversion.
Pope Paul VI said it this way at the first world Ultreya in Rome, "In order to be formed as a Christian, one must reform one's mentality, conform one's life to the pattern of Christ's life and transform by acting with full responsibility the secular structure in which one is immersed." The purpose of Study in our lives is not to become a dictionary of knowledge, it is not the point of Christianity to know much, but rather to love much!
As I stated above, we are challenged to both study ourselves and to study God. If we make time to study ourselves, we can begin to identify the reasons why we have those moments of pride, cowardice, sinfulness, narrow mindedness, and childishness which hinder our relationship with God and with others. When we study God, we learn about a God who is personal, living, omnipotent and who wants what is best for us.
Study then, for our purposes here is simply a means to an end. Study of ourselves and our strengths and weaknesses and our study of God should call us to a "metanoia" or a change in our mentality. Study should challenge us to live life boldly and to orient our lives for the ultimate purpose God created us "To know Him, to love Him and serve Him in this life and to live happily with Him forever in the next." St. Augustine used these words, "Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know You."
The obstacles to knowing ourselves better as I stated earlier, can be pride, cowardice, sinfulness, intolerance or childishness. The remedies to these can be humility, courage, sincerity and meditation.
As we come to know God better we learn that He is a personal being, who is alive and hopeful for us, who wants what is best for us and He is omnipotent. Where can we turn to learn more about God? God reveals Himself to us in creation, Scripture, the teachings of the Church and in the signs of our times.
My experience over my 25 years of meeting weekly in Group Reunion is that the focus during the "study" discussion becomes more like a book review meeting rather than talking about what God is revealing to us both about ourselves and about Him. Too often we just mention the names of whatever God oriented book we are reading.
When we meet weekly we need to discuss what is being revealed by God to us both about us and about Him. In my previous writing on Our Hidden Darkness, and A Church Full of Sinners, I discussed in detail that we are flawed sinners. We should in the study discussion address to our fellow brothers or sister what areas of our lives God is revealing to us that need impovement. Then we should address how He is revealing Himself as the solution to our brokeness. In this form of honest study discussion, we will grow and we can help those that we meet with weekly grow as well.
By learning both about ourselves and God, we can learn to resolve the problems in our lives through the light of Christ. But ultimately we are called into apostolic action. To be apostolic we discover that just as we had to learn about ourselves and God we also need to know more about our brothers and sisters. We will be better able to serve our Lord and spread His message to others by first knowing God and ourselves and then striving to know others and discovering their need to know Christ.
The Cursillo Manual gives us this example: If we soak a stone and a sponge in water, both will get wet. While the stone will only get wet on the outside, the sponge gets soaked on the inside as well. The same happens with our study. It should not only soak us externally but internally as well. Like sponges, we are able to pour out the water of our Christianity to soak those surrounding us with the living water, Jesus Christ.
- When we meet weekly in our Christian Groups or Group Reunion, do we simply report as study what we are "reading" or do we report on what God is revealing to us about ourselves and about Himself?
- Could you begin to make a list of what God has revealed to you recently about yourself? What obstacles is He revealing to you that prevents you from having a fuller relationship with Him?
- What has God most recently revealed about Himself to help you overcome the obstacles listed above?