Spiritual Development Communique #2

National Chairperson of Spiritual Development Jacqueline Nogier, January 30, 2017.

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The seasons of Advent and Christmas are finished and it is now the season of ordinary time. This does not mean that members need to languish in the darkness that is winter simply waiting for spring. They can continue to search out meaningful ways to reach out to others. With the new year came a new and exciting theme and hopefully you have taken the time to sit and contemplate the meaningful words and image that was given to us from the national president. Let it speak to you, guide you, and move you closer to the Holy Spirit and impress upon you that action is the response that our faith calls us to.

Spiritual Growth of Members (sub-committee chairperson Bernadette Burgess)

How is it with your Heart? As members of a spiritual organization this question is vital for individual spiritual growth. By pondering this question daily members can take time to evaluate the day and with those thoughts bring them to our Father in prayer. One useful tool is a prayer and gratitude journal. It is always possible to find at least one thing to be grateful for even after a trying day and a prayer journal can assist members in bringing to mind the many people they are asked to pray for daily. It can prove daunting when starting out, but by utilizing these tools daily members’ spiritual lives can be enriched. Finding time in a day is probably the biggest obstacle to spiritual growth. But blessings abound with perseverance and the peace and joy that Jesus speaks about in the bible. Members must first have a deep desire to pray and a desire to stop what they are doing and speak to God but must also listen to him. They need to know in their hearts that they are talking to a friend.

If we as chairpersons are able to share our personal spiritual journey with our sisters in the League then we can begin to bring to the forefront how it is with our own heart and with our sisters’ heart. In the Catch the Fire program there is mention of council meetings being one-third spiritual. Ensure that this takes place so that we are women truly “rooted in gospel values, calling its members to holiness.”

Evangelization and Mission Assistance (sub-committee chairperson Bernadette Burgess)

“Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love.”                             (page 97, Evangelii Gaudium)

To evangelize, members must know the faith traditions but more importantly be willing to share them with others and they need to be first and foremost joyful witnesses. The Catholic Women’s League is a perfect avenue to begin this process for those who are not comfortable talking about their faith journey. Members have often been asked through national themes to see with the eyes of Jesus and that is what must be done to begin to tell their story to others, and listen to others. Perhaps councils could have a meeting dedicated to sharing the faith journey which in turn will members to go out and proclaim the Good News with joy.

Mission assistance can take on many forms whether at home or abroad. Members share their talents and money with others very generously. If each council subscribes to Catholic Missions In Canada information is always forthcoming and yearly plans can be made to assist others, whether as a council partner or a parish partner. During the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy member had only begun to truly realize the impact we have on others. May Our Lady of Good Counsel provide guidance as members continue to be there for those in need.

Book and Website Suggestions

1. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life by Joanna Weaver. A 12 Week Bible Study Guide is included that could be used to facilitate a parish gathering.

2. Messy and Foolish: How to Make a Mess, Be a Fool and Evangelize the World by Matthew Warner.

3. 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration by Father Michael Gaitley. This book brings together spiritual renewal and Marian devotion.

4. Living with Christ.: This missal provides us opportunity to ponder daily readings.

5. Lectio Divina with Cardinal Thomas Collins. Praying with scripture can have a profound effect. Go to saltandlighttv.org/lectiodivina

6. Formed. This site has been officially launched in Canada. This ‘Catholic Netflix’ includes a vast number of programs, movies, audio series and e-books. Access to this website is restricted to subscribers only (individual or parish). Individuals can use a free seven day trial that is available or subscribe for a monthly fee of $9.99. Go to formed.org

7. Click to Pray. This website and app is from the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network where users can have short prayers and intentions sent three times a day to their phones or computers. Visit clicktopray.org.

8. 3 Minute Retreat. This website and app is from Loyola Press. It allows for short breaks to spend a few minutes quietly reflecting on a Scripture passage. Visit /www.loyolapress.com/3-minute-retreats-daily-online-prayer.

No matter which way members connect with their faith ensure that they are called to action. Catholic faith is one of action, a faith that calls members to pay attention to what is happening around them and to respond.

May Our Lady of Good Counsel keep us and guide us,  

Jacqueline Nogier