Overview of Wisdom & Works of Mercy Group Study
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Some movie theaters offer a special deal called a "double feature," where you can basically watch two movies for the price of one. Well, you might consider "Stage Two: Wisdom and Works of Mercy" such a double feature.
For, whereas Stage One: The Two Hearts, comes in two separate parts, here in Stage Two, participants will be covering both of its parts together — and at a lower price than the two programs of Stage One combined.
In view of this, if we had a "Now Showing" movie poster, it might look like something like this:
Features of the "Double Feature"
There are several key features to the "Double Feature" of Wisdom and Works of Mercy. So, before we go into an overview of Wisdom and then one of Works of Mercy, let's cover the key features that apply to the whole of Stage Two:
– Simple Approach
– Session Schedule
– Key Materials
Wisdom & Works of Mercy is written simply and clearly and brings the profound truths of the faith from head to heart to life in a way that makes deep theology easy to understand and even easier to live.
Ideal for: Prayer groups • RCIA classes • Men's/Women's Groups • And more!
There are 11 sessions in Wisdom & Works of Mercy:
Wisdom (The 'One Thing' Is Three Group Study):
A four-week span* in which participants individually read and put into practice 'You Did It to Me': A Practical Guide to Mercy in Action.
Works of Mercy (The 'You Did It to Me' Group Guide):
*There are approximately four weeks between Sessions 10 and 11. This is to give participants time to read 'You Did It to Me': A Practical Guide to Mercy in Action on their own and put the works of mercy into practice in their own lives before coming together as a small group and choosing a group work of mercy in Session 11.
The key materials for Wisdom and Works of Mercy are:
The 'One Thing' Is Three: How the Most Holy Trinity Explains Everything book
'You Did It to Me': A Practical Guide to Mercy in Action book
Two-in-One Companion (read the introduction here), which contains:
The DVD set for The 'One Thing' Is Three Group Study (The 'You Did It to Me' Group Guide does not have a DVD element.)
All of the above materials, as well as other supporting products, come in the Stage Two packets and kits. You can order your packet or kit with or without The 'One Thing' Is Three book.
Now let's look closer at each part of Stage Two: Wisdom & Works of Mercy.
— Overview for "Wisdom" —
The 'One Thing' Is Three Group Study
The 'One Thing' Is Three Group Study consists of the assigned reading from The 'One Thing' Is Three book, the Study Companion workbook, and the weekly meeting.
What will we read? The book, The 'One Thing' Is Three. To make the group study, each participant will need to read the assigned sections of this book before coming to the weekly meeting. Participants can read the book in daily increments or in one weekly sitting. The weekly readings are very manageable at about an hour or so per week. It's that simple, and there's flexibility so participants can tailor their reading schedule to their personal schedules. Also, the style is simple, straightforward, and easy to understand.
(1) Remember that you can use the "plow" method. (See pages 7-8 of the Study Companion.) In other words, if you encounter difficult concepts in their reading, they can "plow" through them and keep going. By continuing to read, they are still breaking up the soil (so to speak) in preparation for seeds of wisdom.
(2) If you or the members of your group are completely overwhelmed with 30 pages of reading a week plus the Study Companion sections, you can always suggest meeting once every two weeks instead of every week, which makes the reading more manageable. However, be aware that this would stretch out the study to 20 weeks, which may be too long for the people in your group. We recommend first trying to meet every week.
The Study Companion
What will you find in the Study Companion? There are four key aspects to the Study Companion that will help us grow the seeds of wisdom: the summary of the reading, the key words, the study questions, and the small-group session questions.
The summary of the reading gives a snapshot of the key points of each reading. The summary is meant as a review and is not meant to take the place of the weekly reading.
The key words identify the most important words and concepts to which each participant should pay attention.
The personal study questions help each participant to assimilate the most important points they've encountered in the weekly reading, the summary, and the key words.
The small-group session questions are the questions you'll discuss within your small group. These questions are perhaps the most important step in bringing the wisdom you've learned from your head to your heart.
One Practical Point:
While we should try to answer the personal study questions in the Study Companion, we shouldn't look at it as a burdensome homework assignment or a quiz. So tell your group members not to panic if they don't get through all the questions. They're simply aids to growing more deeply in wisdom.
What if I get behind in my reading? If any participants worry that because they missed some of the reading they'll be too far behind, reassure them that they can still be part of the group retreat. Tell them to do the best they can, encourage them to at least skim the text, and have them at the very least read the summary provided in the Study Companion.
Each meeting will last about an hour and a half and is broken up into four parts:
(1) 5-minute Large-group Opening with a prayer and announcements;
(2) 35-minute Large-group DVD Viewing with a talk on DVD that illustrates the key points of each week and keeps them simple and livable;
(3) 45-minute Small-group Discussion that draws from the small-group session questions in the Study Companion;
(4) 5-minute Large-group Closing.
— Overview for "Works of Mercy" —
'You Did It to Me' Group Guide
After you go through The 'One Thing' Is Three 10-week Group Study, you and your group will have one more full meeting (Session 11) that will be dedicated to the works of mercy. During that meeting, you will have some sharing and discussion time, and then, ideally, you will choose a work of mercy for your small group.
Your assigned reading is simply the book, 'You Did It to Me.' It may seem like a lot to have more reading, but 'You Did It to Me' is only half the size of The 'One Thing' Is Three and it's very easy reading. And while you and your group can decide how long to give yourselves to finish it before you meet to discuss it, we suggest one month. That's more than enough time to finish the book. Plus, that much time lets each member of the group start doing the "Action Items" listed in the book. That's actually a key point: Your experience of putting mercy into action will be an important part of your group discussion.
The Group Companion Guide
As you'll soon discover, 'You Did It to Me' is a very practical book with lots of ideas and suggestions for putting mercy into action. However, it's primarily geared for individuals. That's one reason why you'll need your Group Companion Guide. It will help you and your group discover works of mercy you can do together. And that's really what the second half of Stage Two is all about: putting mercy into action not just individually but as a group.
The Group Companion Guide to 'You Did It to Me' has two parts:
(1) The part you read (after finishing 'You Did It to Me') to prepare for Session 11, and
(2) The part you read as a group to guide your group discussion.
This meeting will last about an hour and a half, and is broken up into three parts:
(1) 5-minute Large-group Opening with prayer and announcements;
(2) Small-group Discussion (because there is no DVD talk for Session 11, the Small-group Discussion will last one hour and include discussion on individual Action Plans as well as the Small-group work of mercy. See pages 127-128 of the Companion for more details.);
(3) Large-group Program Vote & Closing, in which the large group votes on a new group study. (If there are no follow-up studies proposed or if there are several studies that people want to do — that's okay. Participants in the Large-group do not have to stay together for the next group study if they prefer to start their own group study or simply not do one.) If there are no further studies proposed, you can invite each of the Small-group Leaders to share their group's work of mercy and then conclude with a prayer.