do you think of Cursillo? My priest wants me to go through it and commit
to having group meetings in our parish. He will be one of the spiritual
directors. Several people in our diocese have asked me to be involved as
have heard of some persons who
have had good experiences with Cursillo groups, and I have heard of some
persons who have had very bad, emotionally damaging experiences with Cursillo
So, rather than say anything
specific about any particular organization, apostolate, or lay association,
let me just provide a simple way to sort out truth from lies. That way you
can make your own decision about any group.
In general, groups that thrive
on popular enthusiasm are often just a lot of sugary sweet sentiment; the whole experience
can make you feel good but itís usually short lived because it really has little to do
with the basis of Christianity: deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ into
a life of self-sacrifice and suffering for the salvation of
yourself and others.
So, if you say you love
Christ, and if you want to follow Him, and if you are willing
to do anything it takes to fulfill your desire to grow
in love for Christ, then pay attention to the following.
to four fundamentals of Christianity: the
Eucharist, the Passion, repentance of sins, and a holy lifestyle. Any
teaching that neglects these fundamentals should be shunned. Be wary, too,
of any bishop or priest who advocates any teaching that neglects these
Avoid any teaching that
emphasizes human fellowship above the divine mysteries of the Mass. Feeling
good about yourself through your interaction with others is like the Israelites in the
desert worshipping the golden calf instead of the true God.
Avoid any group
that spreads through peer pressure. In its proper place, peer
pressure does have a temporary value because it can help you avoid certain
behaviors until you are ready to do without them purely for the love of God. For
example, in regard to overcoming addictions, peer pressure can be helpful
in supporting you to avoid the use of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and unchaste
But peer pressure cannot make you acquire virtue. Virtue is an expression of
love, and love is an act of free will, and so, if you are pressured into doing
something, especially if the pressure causes you to violate your personal
it is not an act of love.
Keep in mind, therefore, that genuine Christianity is a matter of pure love which
spreads through a quiet, humble demonstration of
self-sacrifice despite obstacles
and persecution. Consequently, if you do anything to gain the acceptance of others, or
to keep them from rejecting you, you are acting from a motive that is really a defilement
of love, and, in the spiritual sense, your actions are all a
Take care not
to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise,
you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
Assess the value
of any teaching according to its fruits. Genuine Catholic teaching always
produces fruits of the Holy Spirit. If these
fruits are not being clearly manifested in a group or association, then shun
that group and just focus on living the Faith humbly,
quietly, and privately.
Given the choice between feeling
good or suffering hardship and sacrifice, many persons today will choose
the former. Even those who call themselves Christian want enjoyment and
excitement from life so much that they will even go so far as to purge
the Church of any reminders of the Crucifixion so as to revel in the glory
of the Resurrection. They will sit or stand rather than kneel; they will
hold hands and make themselves, rather than
God, the focus of prayer; and they will babble
rather than revere the divine mystery in loving, prayerful
But Saint John of the Cross warned
He who seeks
not the cross of Christ
seeks not the glory of Christ.
St. John of
The Sayings of Light and Love, no. 102
So listen to this warningat
least, if your desire to follow Christ is not just another way to feel good
about yourself, and if you sincerely desire to carry your cross rather
than merely wear it around your neck as a pretty piece of jewelry.