Teams of Our Lady

Parish Diary

Fr. Peter J. Daly

March 8, 2002

 

            When a priest needs guidance in living his vocation he usually turns to another priest for spiritual direction.  When a monk or a nun needs guidance, they turn to another member of their order who understands the demands of their vocation.

            But, when a married couple needs support and guidance in living their vocation, where do they turn?  That is not always very obvious.

It may be hard to find other couples that share your faith and values.   Celibate spiritual directors, whether men or women, may not always understand the problems first hand.

            Fortunately there is a movement in the church that helps married couples to live out their call to holiness as a couple.  It is called Teams of Our Lady.

            Begun in France in the 20th century by Fr. Henri Caffarel, “Teams” is a lay spiritual movement.  It brings married couples together for prayer, reflection, meals, friendship and encouragement in their married vocation.

            The word “Teams” evokes a team of oxen yoked together.  The scripture says that couples should be “equally yoked”, that is they should have similar values and goals.  They should pull in the same direction.

When a team is pulling together it is powerful.  When a team is pulling in opposite directions, it can’t get anywhere.  The idea of “Teams of Our Lady” is to keep the couple pulling together.

Teams differs a little bit from Marriage Encounter in that Teams is a long-term commitment by married couples to help a few other married couples.  It is a sort of group spiritual direction.

What happens is fairly simple.  Five to seven Catholic married couples meet together once each month in someone’s home.  They share prayer, a meal and a “review of life.”  Sometimes they have a priest present as a spiritual director.  Sometime they share the Eucharist together.

            Some “Teams” that have been together 20, 30 and even 40 years.  They have seen each other’s children grow up and seen the grandchildren come along.  Some groups of the couples become fast friends.  They vacation together. They talk on the phone.  They share each other’s lives.  And when they are widowed, they become a spiritual family for each other. 

I think this is the greatest blessing of the movement, Christian friendship. 

            One special feature of Team meetings is what some groups call “the review of life.”  They help each other set goals each month.  Each month they review the goals and see what progress has been made.  They will support each other and challenge each other.

When some one is going a stray, they call them back

            Couples who are part of Teams also have their own daily spiritual life in their own homes. As a married couple they are supposed to pray together every day.  They are supposed to reflect on a short scripture passage and communicate about their joys, hopes and problems. It is not easy, but it is rewarding.

            Whenever someone is trying to do something very difficult, it is foolish to do it without guidance and help.  Living the Christian married life in today’s world is difficult.   Often the church has not done enough to help many marriages last or make them better. 

            Teams is a kind of marriage “mutual aid” society.  Couples helping couples to live their vows and to realize the joy that is theirs in Christ.

When they do that it is not a blessing, not only to the couple, but also to the whole church.