The monthly Meeting
The team is not an end in itself ; it is at the service of its members ; it allows them :
- to experience special times of prayer together and of sharing ;
- to help one another effectively in journeying to the Lord and bearing witness to Him.
In the life of every Christian community one can distinguish three phases :
- The community turns, with Christ, to the Father to welcome His love ;
- The community shares this love in Christ: “The whole group of believers were of one heart and one soul” ;
- The community, moved by the Spirit of Christ, sends its members to reveal this love to the World.
No couple joins a team under pressure and none is forced to remain. But those who do stay are asked to be loyal: to the other couples, to the practise of mutual support and to the formative ways of the Movement, as well being active in the Movement and remaining faithful to the Spirit.
The team meeting
The team meeting is the high point of the life of this little community.
It is a special time of sharing between the team members in an atmosphere of fraternal love. True mutual love is demanding and cannot result from a passive attitude. Sharing requires a climate of mutual trust and discretion from each member of the team.
The team meets once a month at the home of one of the couples. It is very important for all the members of the team to be present in order to promote harmony and preserve the unity of the team.
There are five parts to the meeting and sufficient time must be allotted to each:
- the meal,
- general sharing,
- communal prayer,
- sharing on the endeavours,
- exchange of views on the study topic.
This sequence may change according to the needs of the team.
They broke bread from house to house and took their meal with gladness and simplicity of heart. (Ac 2: 46)
The meeting normally begins with a meal. It is important that it should be simple.
Each couple may bring a plate of food so that everyone takes part and those who may have little time or modest means may feel at ease.
Above all, have unfailing love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Pet 4: 8)
The monthly meeting is a special time of mutual help. The general sharing may begin during the meal. It is a time when couples talk about important events that have happened since the last meeting. They share the concerns of their daily life, their commitments to the Church, their joys, their hopes and their worries. It is only by listening attentively to each person in turn that true mutual love can grow. This general sharing reflects the current state of life of the team members gathered together.
He told them a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. (Lk 18: 1)
“Prayer is the personal dialogue with God of the individual and of the community." John Paul II - Agenda For The Third Millennium.
Prayer is an essential element of the life of each team. It is the centre and summit of the meeting and may occasionally take the form of a celebration of the Eucharist (after having asked for permission, if it is necessary).
The prayer begins by reading aloud slowly a text from Scriptures followed by a time of silence to welcome the Word of the Lord and meditate on it. Each member then expresses their thoughts on the text in the form of a shared prayer. It is God who speaks to us through the voice of our brothers and sisters. The silence after each moment of meditation is itself a prayer. In this way, we listen to the Word within and through the small “church” which the team forms.
The Team members then offer their prayers of intention so that everyone can join them, in order to give thanks, to request enlightenment, strength, forgiveness or intercession.
The time of prayer ends with a liturgical prayer, the Our Father, the Magnificat, or a hymn, etc.
Sharing on the endeavours
Let your love for each other be real and from the heart. (1 Pet 1: 22)
This sharing is a special time of spiritual mutual help. Assuming responsibility for one another in this way entails three possible elements :
- a persevering search for the will of God,
- a search for truth about oneself,
- the experience of sharing and of communion.
Each team member is invited to share their experience of the Endeavours during the past month.
The sharing on the Endeavours is not an examination of conscience, nor a statement of successes and failures, but a review of the efforts necessary to advance in one’s spiritual life.
Each member of a team is at a different stage of their spiritual life and it evolves at their own pace. It is essential to accept this diversity so that everyone is free to share openly and in confidence. Each member’s experience, progress or difficulties can help others to follow their own faith journey.
The sharing on the Endeavours follows the communal prayer and it benefits from the atmosphere that prayer has created.
Exchange of views on the study topic
It is essential for every Christian couple to strengthen and deepen their knowledge of the faith. This is why the study topic is so important.
Team life is not confined to the monthly meeting. The prayer, in union with the other members of the team and for their intentions, the dialogue, the sharing and mutual help (spiritual and material) continues throughout the month, according to the arrangements of each team. It is the role of the Responsible Couple to ensure this continuation of team life.
It is important that the children of the team also benefit from the deep friendship that is a characteristic of a team of Our Lady and, though not part of the monthly meeting, they feel linked to the team as one big family.
Testimonials on Team Life
“Our Team has been together for more than 30 years. The most recent couple joined us 12 years ago and our chaplain just last year. We all feel that the Team meeting is not just one more chore in our very full diaries, but it is a place of necessary rejuvenation.”
Hereafter are some of what Team members expressed at their End-of-Year meeting.
- “The meeting takes place in a friendly climate, even if we all do not share the same ideas all the time. The sharing about the events that are important to us is the moment when we can illuminate our life with the spotlight of faith. “Lord, what are you trying to tell me in such and such event?”
- The meal that we share and the various exchanges mean that we get to know each other better, while the prayer time during the meeting also helps this as well as visibly demonstrating and building the Team as a community.
- Since it is always a difficult balancing act to give equal time to the different parts of the meeting, our Team meeting has become much better since everyone decided to make the effort to prepare beforehand and to listen more attentively during the Sharing and Pooling, thus allowing everyone to express what was important to them since the previous meeting.
“I am happy with the way everyone participates so truthful at the prayer moment with the Team. This enriches my personal prayer, particularly the sharing of intentions that everyone entrusts to the Team.”
- We prefer to put the Sharing part of the meeting before the Prayer part because we need a ‘decompression chamber’ before the meeting. After the silence and meditative nature of the Prayer moment, the Pooling about the Endeavours, which is the barometer of everyone’s spiritual life, naturally finds its place. When we dodge it, something important is missing. At the moment, it seems to us that in order to better mutual help each other, we ought to be more dynamic and interactive. The goal is to encourage while at the same time respecting everyone’s own particular rhythm.
- Sometimes it is better to deal with the subject topic at the beginning of the meeting, because otherwise the exchanges are constrained by time. At 11pm, the Holy Spirit has gone to bed and this is when the chatty ones and philosophers really get going!
- Furthermore, in order for Team life to be more developed and not just be limited to the meeting, for there to be more connection and fraternity between Team members, be creative: organise a coffee morning, go to the cinema together, go hill walking….”
Team members’ testimonials