the paulatim way
The mission of Paulatim is to educate and promote, among Catholics, the three pillars of the interior life which form the basis of Catholic Spiritual Theology: spiritual reading, mental prayer, and rooting out predominant defect. Paulatim, however, goes beyond just education, promotion, and providing resources. Paulatim seeks to actively assist Catholics in the incorporation of these spiritual practices into their lives through personal instruction and facilitation of small groups. In short, Paulatim seeks to assist Catholics as they build their interior life.
Unfortunately many Catholics are unaware of what an “interior life” is or how to build their own interior life to emulate the saints and Jesus Christ Himself. Quite simply, the interior life is seeking God in everything and replacing egoism with love of God. Accordingly, it is vital to focus on the three pillars to form and mold the interior life. As St. Josemaria Escriva comments in his book “Christ is Passing By”, “the Christian is obliged to be alter Christus, ipse Christus: another Christ, Christ himself.” This can only happen through the development and advancement of the interior life. The Saints tell us that one of the most effective ways of increasing the interior life is through the consistent practice of the pillars.
Paulatim believes that two particular aspects make it a unique approach:
a simple approach to the interior life
First is that it takes what can be a seemingly overwhelming aspect of Catholicism, tending to the interior life, and simplifies and focuses it through the use of the three pillars. Take any book on the spiritual life or the interior life and look at the table of contents. In there you will typically find chapters on the the practices of the three pillars ( not named as such ) but you will also see chapters on topics such as grace, virtue, mortification, the Mass, holy friendships, sin, confession, and so on. All of these are excellent areas to delve into but taken as a whole they can be overwhelming for the beginner. By focusing on the three pillars the Catholic will build the foundation for all their other spiritual activities and devotions. They will then have the spiritual grounding needed to incorporate these other aspects into their spiritual life, over time, and have them bear maximum grace.
support through small groups
Second is that Paulatim marries these spiritual practices with the strength of small groups. Small groups are used in many faith based programs including Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, YDisciple, and many others. Paulatim has found that by making the three pillars the basis of small groups that it is much easier for members to learn about and become proficient and consistent in these practices. Paulatim has developed a small group model based on the three pillars and facilitates the start-up of groups to insure they understand what the pillars are and how groups operate.
Paulatim carries out its mission by:
Education and Promotion
Paulatim seeks to educate and promote among Catholics the practices of the three pillars: spiritual reading, mental prayer, and rooting out predominant defect. To this end Paulatim members make themselves available to give talks, testimonies, presentations, and perform other outreach activities to raise awareness of these practices.
assist Group Formation
People interested in starting a Paulatim group are encouraged to find three or four like-minded, same gendered individuals, that can meet on a weekly basis. Paulatim will then help them to get their group operating in the Paulatim manner.
Some people may find it difficult to locate enough people with compatible schedules that allow weekly meeting. The Paulatim Ministry maintains a registry of interested people and preferred meeting times to assist in the formation of new groups.
Facilitate new groups
Paulatim believes that getting new groups started on the right foot requires personal involvement. When a new group is formed a knowledgeable and experienced Paulatim member will be assigned to the group as a facilitator. The facilitator will participate in the group for the first two or three meetings. They will personally explain the three pillars, give testimony from their own life, and provide instruction on best practices for the operation of the group. For a short time after startup they will check up on the group and will continue to be available as a resource.