To pursue a direction of spiritual and human growth
involves making a logical plan and giving oneself
the means to follow it faithfully.
“Experience shows that, without precise points of application, guidelines are liable to remain a dead letter”. What is a Team of Our Lady ?
Inspired by monastic life, where the ‘rule’ guides the spiritual and communal life for centuries, the Teams of Our Lady chose six ‘precise points of application’ to be accomplished regularly either personally or in the couple : the Endeavours .
The Endeavours are an essential characteristic of the Movement. They are not tasks to be accomplished, but inner attitudes that have to be awakened and absorbed in order to lead to a new way of life. They are a discipline that helps Teams couples apply the Gospel in their daily life. Being committed to these six endeavours will change the couple little by little, developing a married spirituality, which will draw them closer to God, to their spouse and to others.
Members freely make it an ‘obligation’ on themselves to strive to practise the endeavours.
The decision to make the endeavours part of one’s life comes from the heart and is a specific effort of will.
Through the effort that is required by each endeavour, couples become more open to the Holy Spirit who acts within them and makes them grow.
The endeavours demand, of each spouse and also of the couple, a commitment, which is sometimes difficult to keep. They are not imposed on the members; it is the members who voluntarily commit themselves to the practise of them. Alone, one might be tempted to give up the effort; this is why each person calls on the help and the encouragement of their spouse and of their team.
The endeavours are an invitation to :
- listen regularly to the “Word of God”,
- turn to God daily in silent prayer: “personal prayer”,
- pray together daily as a couple: “conjugal prayer”, and if possible with the children: “family prayer”,
- make time each month for true dialogue together: the “sit-down”,
- choose some specific points of personal effort: the “rule of life”,
- make an annual “retreat”.
LISTENING TO THE WORD OF GOD - to “listen” regularly to the Word
“For the Word of God is living and active” (He 4: 12)
The regular reading of the Word allows team members, not only to know God, but especially to root themselves more deeply into the Gospel. It makes each spouse enter into direct contact with the person of Christ. This personal contact is the pillar of any spiritual life “For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” (St Jerome)
This is why the Teams of Our Lady invites each member to read the Word of God daily, making time to read a passage of the Bible, especially the Gospels, and meditating on it in silence in order to understand better what God is saying to us through Scripture.
PERSONAL PRAYER - to turn to God daily in silent prayer
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4: 2)
We are called to make time for the Lord, for an intimate moment with Him, and to live in His presence.
"Daily prayer develops in us the ability to listen to God. It means making time to be alone with God who loves us. It is a time of silent ‘heart to heart’ listening to God, of discovery and of welcoming God’s plan for us.
“Words in contemplative prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the
fire of love”. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2717)
CONJUGAL PRAYER – to pray together daily, husband and wife, and if possible, as a family
"I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one” (Jn 17: 23)
Christ is present in a very special way when the couple prays together. Not only do they renew their “I will” to God, but they achieve a depth of oneness which comes only from the union of hearts and minds in the sacrament of marriage.
Conjugal prayer becomes the common expression of two individual prayers and should come naturally from a life shared together. If the husband and wife each have their own style of prayer, then it is important that they try to develop a common way of praying, in order to discover and experience a new dimension to their married life.
The Magnificat, the common prayer of the Teams of Our Lady, may be part of this
When there are children, it is important to set aside a special time for family prayer.
The home is the first place of learning for children. It is for the parents to pass on the faith to them and to make the home a place where they feel at ease with prayer.
THE “SIT-DOWN” - to make time each month for dialogue between the couple
“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 2: 21)
The Sit-down helps us to reveal ourselves gradually to our spouse.
It is a time for the husband and wife to speak together calmly and in truth in the presence of the Lord. This time for the couple to express their feelings and thoughts, results in better knowledge of each other and in mutual help. It is an opportunity to review the past, to analyse married and family life, to make plans for the future and to speak of the ideal that they have for their life.
The Sit-down prevents routine setting into married life and keeps their love and their marriage, young and alive. Its value is appreciated by all the couples who practise it.
They find in this coming together the opportunity to love each other more.
It is desirable to begin the Sit-down with a time of prayer or of silence in order to become aware of the presence of God. The silence deepens the thoughts that each one has of the other, bringing them closer to God and creates an atmosphere suitable for sharing.
THE RULE OF LIFE – to choose some personal endeavours
“Let every one see that you are interested only in the highest ideals” (Rom 12: 17)
The Rule of Life consists of one or more points on which each spouse decides to concentrate their efforts, so that they can follow their chosen path of growth and respond with joy to God’s call to love.
The Rule of Life helps the spouses to adhere more personally and more concretely to God’s plan for the person and for the couple. It is one or more practical steps that one takes in order to progress along the path of spiritual and human growth. It is definitely not a case of multiplying resolutions but of reinforcing little by little, with perseverance, some of our weak points or improving some of our qualities.
The progress of our spiritual life is not along a continuous path: we must constantly start again. That is why it is necessary to review our Rule of Life regularly.
“You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while” (Mk 6: 31).
Team members are encouraged to make sufficient time each year for a retreat, as couples if possible, so that they can reflect on life in the presence of the Lord.
The retreat is a special time to stop, to listen and to pray. It is an opportunity to be recharged spiritually. It is also a special time for an examination of self and of one’s life in general – particularly the direction of one’s growth.
Couples of the Teams are encouraged to take advantage of the special atmosphere of a retreat to renew themselves. They are invited to leave their home and place of work in order to listen to God and to discern His plan for them as a couple.