Some Helpful Thoughts on Spiritual Progress BY REV. EDWARD F. GARESCHE, SJ.
ONE of the greatest drawbacks to the success of many of our Catholic societies," observed an experienced pastor not long ago, "is that they seem to have so little energy from within. Too many of them are like an inert body, moved from without. They depend for all their motion on the pastor, and unless he gives the impulse to action, and supplies all the motive force for their work, they do nothing. This is quite wrong. A well-established Catholic society should have an energy of its own and be capable of inaugurating its own activities. It should, indeed, be under the guidance and direction of its pastor, who represents the authority of the Church, but it should also have a life and a soul of its own and not be merely an automaton."
The observation is a just one. In order that every parish society may have this inner life and be capable of spontaneous action, under the guidance of the pastor, it is necessary that a circle of the members should be encouraged to assume the initiative and taught to take a share of responsibility and assume a part of the burden of managing the work of the society. This does not mean that the due subordination of the members and officers to the director should be interfered with, since it is well for every spiritual society to have a spiritual director, and he usually has authority and responsibility for the whole body. But the experience of the most successful organizations has shown that it is easy to have in the same society a remarkable freedom of action and initiative on the part of the members and a very firm, helpful, and authoritative guidance on the part of the director.