Being human, and knowing how easy it is for “me, myself and I” to subtly find their way to center stage and the spotlight, it is important for us to remind ourselves now and then of the words of St. John the Baptist: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).
In Some Guidelines for Facilitator, which can be found in each of the three Facilitator Manuals, we are reminded that if we are not careful, if we forget or ignore the strict limits of our role as LTMTP Facilitators versus the much larger role of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Himself, we might find ourselves “stepping on the toes of the God Most High”. We may chuckle when we first hear this phrase; however, when we think about it for a moment, we quickly realize that this is no chuckling matter. If we ever find ourselves tempted to insert ourselves into the role or place reserved to the Holy Spirit (Director) or to Jesus Himself (Teacher), we should immediately ask ourselves: “Am I doubting that the Spirit of the Lord is truly in this place; or that the risen Jesus Christ is truly here ministering to the pray-ers in the group?” If our answer is as it should be, “Of course not”, then we should have no problem resisting that human temptation to insert ourselves where we do not belong, or to allow the focus of attention to be directed to us. “Me, myself and I” need to immediately “decrease”.
The role of the Facilitator is a very important and indispensible one. As Facilitators we “make it easy” for the women in the group to enter into, and move along on, this beautiful Ignatian prayer journey. But we are not the major players. Like St. John the Baptist, we point to the One who must increase in the lives of the pray-ers, while we make it a point – a conscious decision – to decrease. How tempting it can be to want to be the director or teacher or the one with the answers. “Excuse me Jesus; excuse me Holy Spirit. Could you two just step over to the side for a moment, or maybe go take a break for a few minutes, while I handle this one?” I don’t think so! These are toes we never want to step on.
We are very blessed because the role of the Facilitator is clearly defined and delineated. And the Facilitator Manuals provide us with exactly what we need to say and do (and, as you know, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops studied the entire text of each of the three Manuals to assure consistency with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and subsequently gave LTMTP full approval). Granted, facilitating the Faith Sharing part of the sessions requires the gradual development of a certain skill over time; but essentially, to be a holy Facilitator, all we have to do after being trained, is to pray (both through the week and while facilitating the sessions), to stay in our Facilitator role; and to humbly follow instructions. By committing ourselves to these few things, we can keep “me, myself and I” at bay and avoid stepping on the toes of the God Most High.