04 March 2008

Good News Online March/April

This month's issue of Good News Magazine is online. It is a gift to us from the National Service Committees for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in England and Ireland. This issue features a neat article about the relevance of the Rule of St Benedict to Charismatic groups and communities. Since I know some of you out there are in leadership positions, this really stood out:

Though the authority and responsibility of an Abbot is greater than that of a prayer group leader, it is worth benefiting from St. Benedict’s insights. The group leader is more than just an organiser. Making provision for prayer, teaching and ministry, maintaining the unity of the group, and listening to people’s needs, nurturing development and mediating between individuals requires pastoral care. St Benedict reminds the abbot that, ‘he will have to give an account of his stewardship’ (RSB 64:7, cf. Lk 16:2). He needs to listen to the brethren before making significant decisions (RSB 3:2), ‘teach more by deeds than words’ and ‘use argument to exhort and rebuke’ (RB 2:12 & 23, cf. 2Tim 4:2). Such a wise balance in leadership is one of the keys to the longevity and success of the Rule. However, the leader should not take decisions on his own. Leadership is not a democracy – God is not automatically in the majority – but neither is it a dictatorship. It involves discerning the will of God, in the group. The Abbot should, ‘convoke the whole community, and himself declare the proposed action: and having heard the counsel of the brethren, he is to ponder it over within himself and then do what is most appropriate’. Everyone should feel included, and he is told to pay particular attention to children, ‘because it is often to the younger that the Lord reveals what is best’. (RSB 3:1-3)

Be sure to check out the rest of this article and the magazine.

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