Thanks to Mark Shea for the link today (2/6). Mark’s blurb leading you here, however, didn’t quite capture my point. My point is not the cry of the introvert – at all. My question is far less personal. It is the question of whether Catholic parishes *need* the evangelical-rooted concept of small groups. Gathering together for prayer, fellowship and study is basic – my point is that many plans for doing so in a structured way in Catholic settings a) are artificial and not suited to Catholic ecclesiology and b) discourage a more fruitful examination of how the dynamics that are the goal of “small groups” are already present in Catholic life and praxis, just waiting to be (re) discovered.
(Or anything for that matter)
One of the “secrets” of having a blog and such is that you know what people are searching for.
Yes – it’s one of the amusing entertainments we do – collate the odd search terms that bring folks to our blogs.
And there are odd ones.
To be sure.
And there are consistent and out of the box searches. Like – I get daily searches for combinations of “introvert” and “parent.”
It without fail leads me to prayer.
Please help them cope! Please!
“Why have children”
(Every day on that one. Every day.)
Help them be open to life! Please!
The past couple of days, though, I’ve gotten lots of searches about “small groups” and specifically what *I* think about small groups.
Just email me and ask me okay?
But if pressed…here’s what I’ll say: I’m an…
(wait for it)
forced, artificial and constructed….sharing.
Yay for you if you want to be in a “small group.” Go for it. But the threat of organized “small groups” held out to me as a requirement for a “Serious/Intentional Christian” Badge makes me want to run to biggest “large group” around.
(Which is – in case you didn’t know – the Catholic Church. You know. The one Jesus started. Big group.)
And moreover, I think that Catholics go way wrong when we accept the assumptions of non-Catholic ecclesiastical models.
Take that any way you like.
And what I think?
Daily Mass is the original “small group.”
And people who don’t get it…are almost hopelessly anthrocentric and don’t believe in the power and presence of Christ there.
Dear brothers and sisters, in participating in the Eucharist we experience in an extraordinary way the prayer that Jesus offered, and continually offers, for each one of us in order that evil — which we all encounter in life — may not have the power to overcome us, and so that the transforming power of Christ’s Death and Resurrection may act in us. In the Eucharist, the Church responds to Jesus’ command: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:24-26); she repeats the prayer of thanksgiving and blessing and, with this, the words of the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Lord’s Body and Blood.
Our celebrations of the Eucharist are a being drawn into that moment of prayer, a uniting ourselves again and again to Jesus’ prayer. From her earliest days, the Church has understood the words of consecration as part of her praying together with Jesus; as a central part of the praise filled with thanksgiving through which the fruit of the earth and of men’s hands are given to us anew by God in the form of Jesus’ Body and Blood, as God’s gift of Himself in His Son’s self-emptying love (cf. Jesus of Nazareth, II, pg. 128). In participating in the Eucharist, in nourishing ourselves on the Flesh and Blood of the Son of God, we unite our prayer to that of the paschal Lamb on His last night, so that our lives might not be lost, despite our weakness and infidelity, but might be transformed.