Formation in the Art of Accompaniment

“The Church will have to initiate everyone-priests, religious, and laity-into the “art of accompaniment,” which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5).  ~Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel, No. 169

“Today more than ever we need men and women who, on the basis of their experience of accompanying others, are familiar with processes which call for prudence, understanding, patience, and docility to the Spirit, so that they can protect the sheep from wolves who would scatter the flock.” ~Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel, No. 171

prayerWith over eighteen years of experience being accompanied and accompanying others, Matthew has felt the urging of the Holy Spirit to begin teaching the art of accompaniment. Matthew is a particularly gifted mentor and teacher who believes anyone with the proper formation can accompany others. The process of formation always begins with a deep personal conversion in which we have encountered the love of Christ in such a way that we are active missionary disciples.

In John 5:19, Jesus says “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.” It is vital to understand that all fruitfulness flows from our intimacy with the Father. The art of accompaniment is predicated on the truth that in and of ourselves, we have nothing to offer. In our poverty, we can only listen to the Holy Spirit and to those we accompany and facilitate a deepening encounter between God and the individual.

Listening is the primary skill needed to accompany others. We must first listen deeply to God in prayer before we can listen with grace-soaked hearts to others. Formation then necessarily begins with prayer, learning how to relate all of your interior life to God, receive his divine life, and respond fully to his love. As students learn to listen deeply, we begin intellectual formation to continue being purified through scripture and Church teaching. Lastly, through the process of accompanying another with supervision, you will continue receiving guidance and feedback as you put your formation into action.

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