.. . .
We've written songs about, "You can't have a
local church without a cadre," a congregation can't be a
congregation without a cadre, a cadre can't be a cadre without
a congregation. What would be a proper analogy? It's hard to use
the body anymore to say that without a heart you can't be a body.
How do you get hold or the cadre, congregation, and
parish? The parish is where the happenings of God are taking place.
The cadre is that group of people that are always looking at the
parish, that are always looking to see what new thing the Lord
of Heaven and Earth, or the Lord of History is bringing into being
and taking out of being. What the signs of the times are is always
being revealed in the midst of the parish. Here is where suffering
takes place. Here is where creation takes place. It is as though
the cadre were at the receiving end for signals that the parish
transmits, signals about what in the world it is that is happening.
The cadre then takes those signals and recreates and builds the
models that enable this congregation, this group of people to
respond to what is going on in the midst of creation.
Today the particular area that I want to talk about
is the pole of the Congregation. To talk about the congregation
is to talk of the seminary, the college, and the sodality. In
the document of Council IV on the inside cover of the back page,
the whole model is laid out in detail as a beginning. As many
of you know, when these documents are written, they are written
with a rationale. Sometimes the chart revealing the rationale
comes with the document. In this case it didn't. Maybe if you've
studied it and tried to figure it cut, you can begin to sense
after why the rationale is not spelled out in the chart. It gets
pretty complex before it's through.
Let's turn to Paragraph 41, which is on the congregation
to get a sense after one of the rationales used in writing this
document. The way this particular document works is that each
section is divided into four parts. The first of those four parts
deals with the dynamic of the congregation. It deals with the
congregation as a whole in relationship to the seminary, in relationship
to the sodality, and in relationship to the college. It spells
out the dynamic that takes place in the congregation between each
of these bodies. The form of that dynamic is that the Congregation
in its relationship to the seminary, the sodality, and the college
serves the function of being an agent of judgment. It has a judgment
that it always makes upon each of these. It has a judgment
that it makes upon the seminary. It has a judgment that it makes
upon the sodality. It has a judgment that it makes upon the college.
Then it has a supportive role. It dynamically supports the seminary,
the sodality, and the college. Then in addition to the supportive
role, it has a creative function, or a function dynamic that is
served in relationship to each of these. As you move through the
document you'll see that there are really three arrows or three
dynamics that the congregation plays in relationship to each of
Then the document does the same thing in talking
about the sodality. First of all it talks about the relationship
of the sodality to the congregation, dynamically. Than in addition
to that it talks about the relationship of the sodality to the
seminary, and it talks about the relationship of the sodality
to the college. It does that in terms of judgment, support all
creation. The third is the seminary, the fourth is the college.
In each case it does this kind of butterflying, or cloverleafing
kind of spelling cut of the relationship dynamically of each to
each, speaking first of all of the judgment that the seminary
has on the sodality, how it is that the seminary supports the
sodality, and what the creative role of the seminary is in the
life of the sodality. So you can begin to see the complexity that's
behind this whole document, just at the congregational level.
And it not only moves through the congregation, but the same kind
of thing happens as the cadre is talked about and the parish is
To turn to talk about the congregation and the dynamics
that take place between each of the parts, the congregation and
the sodality, the congregation and the seminary, and the congregation
and the college. First of all I'd want to talk about the relationship
of the sodality to the congregation. The role that the sodality
plays in relationship to the whole congregation is to call the
congregation to love the world. This dynamic is what's taking
place. You can see that what's behind all of this is the Ecclesiola.
Or what we've been working, with in our evening time is this whole
dynamical relationship. What we've cone in each evening pull part
of it out and stand present selfconsciously to that particular
goingoneness. On Tuesday nights we've pulled the college
out, particularly with the congregations and the team meetings.
Wednesdays we've pulled the seminary out and worked particularly
with intellectual care. Thursdays we've pulled the whole area
of sodality out. In one sense nobody is really clear yet on what
the Ecclesiola is. We've been experimenting with it in a number
of different ways. But it is at least a hybrid; attempting to
bring selfconsciousness to the activity that takes place
in every congregation wherever there is a congregation. This is
not something that's different, that's imposed upon a congregation,
and therefore you wouldn't call that a congregation. Wherever
you see the activity of spirit care and what I mean
be spirit care is caring at the depths for a human being. You're
concerned not just with whether he's got enough food or whether
he's properly prepared for that day. What you're caring about
is his whole stance in the midst of life, and in particular his
stance as a revolutionary, or as a spirit man in the midst of
life. Wherever you see spirit care going on in the midst of life
that's the college dynamic. And you could see just spirit care
and nothing else.
Then to add to that the intellectual care. That's
really what the seminary is all about. The congregation is always
a caring unit that enables its people to move into the midst of
the parish. That requires not only spirit care but intellectual
care. Then for the sodality, I guess you'd talk about model care,
or planning care. Here's where the models or the plans are shaped
which enable this congregation to move out into the parish. Wherever
these three things are going on, there is a congregation, whether
there is a building or whether there is not a building, whether
you've got a lot of people or a handful of people. Wherever these
dynamics are going on, there's the congregation.
The word Ecclesiola is not another word for congregation.
'Congregation' is these dynamics. What Ecclesiola is a hybrid,
a word that has been created. Ecclesiola has the meaning of, 'little
church.' It is a means of bringing selfconsciousness of
these activities which are going on. The Ecclesiola is not automatically
the congregation. In a moment of the spirit it might become the
congregation, but in the first instance it is not that at all.
It's a way of bringing selfconsciousness to these dynamics.
What we're about each evening is to sharpen our senses,
sharpen our awareness, so that we'll be able to see in the midst
of the congregation, where these spirit activities are going on,
and also to sharpen our senses as to how we can better enable
that activity to take place in the midst of that congregation.
It's that way that I'd want to talk about the Ecclesiola.