Courage to Act

Certainly, it takes great courage for Cursillistas to be evangelizers bent on transforming the world around them. However, note that the courage that we are asked to grow in and exhibit is a faith-based courage. It is essentially spiritual in nature, but always translates itself into courageous action and even risk-taking before God and people.

We see many examples of this kind of courage in the Old Testament. One such example: God told Abraham: “Go forth from your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to the land I will show you.” In other words, leave the known for the unknown. Sever all ties to your present life. Make a whole new fresh beginning. Risk-taking was, and is, an essential element of our faith.

The early civil rights movement was literally an act of faith-based risk-taking. Deeply affected by the biblical account of Moses and his role in the liberation of the Jewish people fromEgypt, Dr. Martin Luther King inspired men, women and children with the courage to confront police dogs, shotguns, fire hoses and tear gas. Black Americans and their supporters were asked to put their faith on the line, leaning on God as they shouldered the risks. Faith-based courage won the final victory.

The famous psychologist Rollo May had this to say of courage: “It is not a virtue or value among other personal values like love or fidelity. It is the foundation that underlies and gives value to all other virtues and personal values.” A pretty strong statement that suggests that a faith-based courage underlies all Cursillo virtues.

It takes a faith-based courage to be God-centered in our culture. To live our faith, we really have to be counter-culturists. We need the courage not to conform to the dictates of the entertainment world, media and peer pressure.

It takes a faith-based courage to be dependent on the Spirit in our efforts to evangelize people. We need the faith to believe that the Spirit will put on our lips the right words to say and that the Spirit will open the minds of our hearers.

It takes a faith-based courage to be open to the Spirit in Christian community and to be compassionate to people whom we don’t like. And so with the other Cursillo virtues.

Other signs of a faith-based courage are a spirit of initiative and a sense of responsibility. Our faith will reveal injustice wherever it appears, and we must be people who recognize it, feel responsible for its elimination and be ready to take the first steps that are called for—after prayer to the Spirit for guidance.

Human structures, institutions and programs are all subject to decadence; revisions and critiques are always called for. Here the solitary voice is always needed. We need to be “people who risk the loneliness of thinking things through and who in doing so opt out of the collective and point out in a stumbling or faltering way what needs to be said in a search for truth”, according to Trappist Father James Behrens.

Our calling as Cursillistas is to Christianize our environments. If we are going to change the environments that we circulate in, we will need a faith-based courage to step out and initiate a plan for action.

It takes courage to invite someone to make a Cursillo Weekend. “Will they think of me as a religious freak if they are not interested? Will it change our relationship?”

How do we grow in faith-based courage? By performing acts of courage. The repetition of such acts will produce a “holy” boldness. The author Goethe wrote: “Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated—Begin it, and then the work will be completed.”