What a Cursillo talk IS:
Each of the fifteen talks is one episode in an unfolding story. Each builds on those gone before, and serves to provoke discussion and exploration of the topic. It asks questions rather than trying to give answers.
What a Cursillo talk IS NOT:
- A personal witness talk – it is anchored in, but not all about, the speaker’s experience.
- A lesson – apart from a few of the final talks, it’s not for the speaker to tell people what to do.
- A Bible study – Bible quotes should be used sparingly, and only where relevant.
- A sermon – it’s not an opportunity for the speaker to try to sound like the vicar!
So how do I do that?
Read the guidelines for the talk you are to prepare. Don’t leap in and start right away, however tempting that may be. Give yourself time to think and pray, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking. You may be surprised to find how God will put things into your mind if you keep it open. The guidelines come in three sections:
The guidelines for each talk will give a few key points that MUST be incorporated in your talk is some way. Without these, other talks may not make full sense, and the unfolding story mentioned above will be broken. Start by taking these away and thinking about them for as long as needed before you even start to try to write anything. As the old collect prayer says, “read, mark, and inwardly digest.”
Suggestions are offered as a way of getting you going. They are not as crucial as the key points, and you can use them or not as seems appropriate.
The comments are just helpful notes about the process, including things to avoid. Some things are the same for many talks, others may be pertinent only to your talk.
Don’t apologise! Too many “Study” talks have begun with “Well, I don’t know why I’ve been given this talk to do because I’m the world’s worst at studying.” Usually, that person then goes on to list the fifteen books they read before breakfast and make everyone else feel even worse. It’s not a competition, and neither is the talk an opportunity to show off. Yes, we want to share our own personal experience and what works for me, but with understanding, and sympathetic to the fact that for others their journey may well have a different direction and speed. Having said that, the best talks – and the ones that people remember – do arise naturally out of personal experience, and are not just a sterile third-person monologue. Striking a balance comes naturally to some, but others may find this very challenging. If you find yourself just getting stuck, don’t panic – it doesn’t mean you’re inadequate, just stuck. Talk to other Cursillistas about it, perhaps after your Group Reunion. Even if your ideas are really sketchy, run them past one of the Spiritual Advisors for the weekend, who may be able to give you pointers or other support. It may seem daunting to think that “Christ is counting on YOU,” but he never asks more of us than we are able to do, so we respond in faith, “and I on HIM.”