Forming Disciples at the School of Mary
After having read the previous post, one might wonder: in what consists Prophetical Theology? Here, in a summarised way, we offer an idea of how it could be done. We will see first "The Spirit of the Formation" in "Prophetical Theology", which will be followed by "The method of Formation", and finally by the "Contents of the Formation" (i.e. the topics).
The spirit of the Formation
1- “Disciples” means that the accent in the formation is put on the student himself, his/her capacity to digest and live the teaching and not on the accumulation of knowledge/theology.
The way of teaching theology is totally revolutionised in the School of Mary. The centre of gravity is put on the inner spiritual life, the experience of the Risen Lord, and all proceeds from there. The students becomes a “Witness” of Jesus, allowing Jesus to grow in him, and learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit.
So growth and mentoring that growth is essential and the absolute priority.
The centre of gravity of the study is on forming the Disciple (his/her spiritual life, the interior line), his capacity to handle the contents of Theology, understand them by experience and not only in an intellectual/abstract/historical way.
Having the centre of gravity on the inner line of formation (see diagram below) doesn’t imply to neglect the exterior line, with all what it bears of objective teaching as it is today (Bible, Dogma, Liturgy/Sacraments, Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology). On the contrary it implies seeing clearly the bridges on each horizontal level between the inner topic and the exterior expression of it.
Theology according the Greek Fathers meant: Contemplation, and the higest levels of contemplation, being in the Trinity. Contemplation is central in this education.
2- “Mary”: Mary is not only the Archetype of the Theologian (his/her best realisation) but as well his/her Mould. She guides him/her in his growth, she forms him/her, silently, but efficiently, until her/she reaches completion and can be a real solid witness to Christ. She is the one who makes this way of making theology integral; by the attention she brings into the formation of the theologian, she makes theology complete. I would find it difficult to go astray from Mary.
We should be able to hear the Lord saying to Our Lady: “Blessed are you Woman, Mother of my Disciples, you offered the “Key of knowledge”; you did enter yourself and you introduced those who were entering.” (See Luke 11:52)
3- Key of knowledge: This way of forming disciples puts the interest in the spiritual growth of the Disciple. In doing so we point out the fact that what matters in “learning theology” is the transformation (divinisation, sanctification) of the Disciple, his/her deep knowledge of God, his/her experience of the Risen Lord and of the Power of the Holy Spirit. It helps the future disciple to avoid falling in the pitfall of an abstract knowledge of the history of theology that remains conceptual and hardly ever experienced, internalised, assimilated. He/she is enabled, step by step, to become more and more resemblant to Christ, and therefore being able to contemplate Him as He is (see 1 John 3:2). He becomes more and more true Witness to the Risen Lord, capable of Evangelising and bearing fruits. In this way we understand how Our Lady is really the Mother of Evangelisation.
This way for forming the future Disciple opens in him and through him the “communication line” between the “Experience of God” and the “Persons to Evangelise”. (Please see the green lines in the second diagram below.)
The method of Formation at the School of Mary
Approach: In order to have a solid Spiritual Life one needs to learn deep prayer and establish new spiritual habits. Any solid formation requires 3 years to implement the new habits, like Jesus did. This length of time, and the faithfulness of the student during this length of time to the practises of prayer, helps root them in him/her.
By establishing the deep spiritual life and its main tools (contemplation), one then can address the other theological issues (Bible, Dogma, Liturgy-Sacraments, Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology), and “see” in a contemplative way all the links and connections.
The two lines of Formation (the inner line and the outer line) come as follow:
Formation in the School of Mary has the following classes:
1- Theory of the Practice: The Courses in Spiritual Life (and normal Theology).
2- Verifying the understanding of the Theory of Spiritual Life, questions and answers: Workshops. Seeing the applications.
3- Practising a minimum of 1 hour Lectio Divina and 1 hour of Prayer of the heart as classes time. + 1 extra hour of Prayer of the heart in the evening, at home.
4- "One to one" tuition/check up of the practises (Lectio Divina and Prayer of the heart).
5- The Students are invited to have regular Spiritual Direction.
Monitoring the spiritual growth comes in three different levels:
1- The workshops
2- The One to one tuition/check up.
3- Spiritual Direction
The "tools" are in fact the daily practise of Lectio Divina and the Prayer of the heart; they are ways to digest the Food taken at Mass: Jesus' Word and Jesus' Body and Blood.
If the person is faithful to that Program during the 3 years, then, in the end you have a very good solid Disciple of Jesus, capable of being useful to the Church and its Mission.
Topics for an Integral Formation
Forming Disciples at the “School of Mary”
Introductory Course: Theology of the Call for Holiness.
Inner line of formation
Outer line of formation
Theology of listening
“Biblical Inspiration” and “Spiritual Life”
Experience of the Trinity
Experience of Christ
Experience of the Holy Spirit
Experience of Mary
The spiritual experience of the Church
Trinity in Spiritual Life
Christ in Spiritual Life
The Holy Spirit in Spiritual life
Mary in Spiritual Life
Church and Spiritual Life
Spirituality of Priestly Gift of the Faithful
Prayer of the heart – Lift up the heart
Digesting the Sacraments
“Fruitful Participation” to the liturgy.
Liturgy and Spiritual Life
Spirituality of Baptism
Spirituality of the Eucharist
Spirituality of Marriage
Theological Acts (Faith – Hope – Love)
Ups and downs in SL
Synergy with the Action of the Holy Spirit – Presence of God
Moral Theology and Spiritual Theology
Confession and Spiritual Direction
Perception of sin in the examination of conscience
Discernment – Counsel – Government
The Holiness of the Priest/minister in his ministry
Pastoral techniques under the light of Spiritual Life.
Pastoral orientations in the light of the Spiritual Journey.
(To be continued...)