Bernard J. Lee, SM
This book presents a spirituality for Small Christian Communities. Each part follows a particular “road” interwoven with Marianist history and traditions. Particularly useful and practical for those beginning to share in this journey, this book encourages conversations that enliven and help ensure the stability of these developing communities.
Often a community will ask a long-term question: what would we like to be saying about our life and mission five years from now? In order to get there, we move by planned increments. So, what seems achievable to us during a coming year? We might add to the mission statement: “We are called by the Marianist Story to meet the need for community in our church and culture; therefore, our vision is to be a community that initiates and nurtures new communities.” Those two sentences together are a substantial vision statement.
We may now add this: “For this coming year we plan to invite others to experience our community, and each member will indicate how he or she will proceed and how many she or he hopes to contact.”
Then strategies for implementation would be developed. How do we welcome a person who comes to look and see? How do we go about starting a new group when there are enough interested? How are they socialized into the Marianist Deep Story? What kind of leadership will keep us on track? A vision statement that never gets off the paper it is written on is useless. Concrete, practical strategies are important. Our commitments turn into our praxis.
Deliberations and decision-making processes like these are Habits that keep Marianists on the same Journey recollected. For a community to be recollected means that it habitually has recourse to its vision and the vision’s praxis. A community might decide to take an evening once every three months (or four months, or six months) to examine itself on its fidelity to its vision statement, i.e., to recollect its charter. Or it may do a five-minute examen at the end of every meeting. There are many ways to keep our vision present before our eyes. A committed community puts a great deal of ingenuity at the disposal of its recollection, but it does this in clear, explicit ways.
Part One: The Origin of the Road
1 Journey Habits for a Community
A Spirituality for the Road
2 Charism as a Local Achievement
A Contemporary Context
3 The Shape of the Christian Journey
A Background Briefing for the Marianist Story
4 Journey Scenarios
Contextualizing the Travel Habits
Part Two: A Community's Life on the Road
5 The Habits
Preparing the Journey
6 The Habits
Purifying the Journey
7 The Habits
A Consummation Devoutly To Be Wished
Part Three: Some Road Maps
8 Connections and Resources
We Get By with a Little Help from Our Friends