The Church’s Wonderful Present : Being a Team’s Spiritual Counsellor !
Spiritual Counsellors tell us:
“I appreciate this place of spiritual resourcing.” (25 years in a Team)
“The Teams are a balm to my heart. It’s where I rub shoulders with Christian families.” (8 years in a Team)
“In the Teams, something special happens in the priests’ hearts. It’s like a secret !” (1 year in a Team).
Chaplain or Counsellor ?
Around us, we don’t know who is a Spiritual Counsellor. They are not nominated. And so it is more a question of free choice. Finding a Spiritual Counsellor is difficult. The Spiritual Counsellor is surely someone who accompanies, but he is certainly accompanied himself.
The fraternal aspect that you don’t find elsewhere ?
This Team is my place of life. It is important for me to continue despite my diocesan responsibilities. I asked myself, “Is it good for me ?” It is a Church mission. Being anchored in a local church enlightened the Team members a lot.
I found something particularly deep in the link between the priest’s ministry and the sacrament of marriage. An influence on my mission as parish priest over the past 6 years: marriage preparation, Tandem groups…
What distance should there be between the priest and Team members? Proximity or opposites ? Is he a Team member or something else? Is he a friend or figure of authority ?
Maintaining a distance out of respect for the family. It is not up to me to say what should go on in families. The Responsible Couple organises the dialogue, not me. These parents, couples and the priest also strongly connect us to the experience of paternity. This humanity is offered to us by those who love each other and who found families.
How to best accompany the difficult moments in a Team’s life? What is the Spiritual Counsellor’s role ?
It is very important to be as humanly a priest as possible and this is my deep conviction. In a Team, there are great riches. There is a strong communion in our vocation as christened people. When Christ sees and tells of people’s lives, he sees God’s work there; this companionship with a Team of Our Lady teaches us that. Gradually, as we get to know each other, God’s gift appears to us to be embodied.
The meeting ? The Endeavours and how to stop enumerating them in order to experience true spiritual progress ? Does the priest say how he says his private prayer ?
The Team members expect me to take my turn during the Sharing. If I have something to say and I get involved, it is to help. A couple that is very at ease with private prayer and the Rule of Life motives and leads us. Sometime, I take time to discern and see if we are not in the process of deviating. We are not the Movement’s accomplices. We have a mission.