One of the lovely quotes attributed to St. Francis of Assisi is: Preach the Gospel always and sometimes use words! That quote continues to take on even greater meaning for me as I experience transitions and changes in my priesthood. Nearing my 43rd anniversary of ordination this coming May and having been challenged in the last seven years with an extremely rare neurological condition that has impacted normal mobility and, in this past year, my speech, one looks for new possibilities for ‘preaching the Gospel!’ The proverbial adage, When God closes one door, He opens another, has been experienced in so many wonderful ways in these many years of ministry. And now, as my formal retirement nears, I’m excited about transitioning to continuing to preach as well as offer reflections through the medium of this Rector Emeritus Blog.
One of the experiences that invariably defines and shapes one’s priesthood is the Eucharistic Celebration and the near daily and weekly experience of ‘breaking open’ the Word of God. For 43 years, a weekend would hardly go by without the careful crafting of a Sunday homily. My seminary homiletics professor, Fr. Charles Miller, C.M., would drill into the minds of his seminary students, the need to carefully write out one’s homily and make it one’s own, limiting it to no more than seven minutes! I think it is safe to say that all of us have endured what I refer to as a homily that goes on forever, like a plane in distress that is desperately looking for a place to land! Paradoxically, little preparation leads to meandering and painfully long homilies. Whereas, careful, thoughtful and thorough preparation can lead to finally crafted homilies where the Good News can come alive to transform hearts and minds of both homilist and congregation – in seven minutes or less!
And so, with this Blog, my weekly ‘homilizing’ can continue, perhaps, for an even larger ‘congregation!’. Together with a weekly homiletic reflection, this Blog provides an avenue for other reflections touching timely issues impacting the Church today as well as the occasional commentary on social and political issues that can impact our life in the spirit.
Feel free to forward whatever might strike you as insightful or important to others. Share the Good News!