Sunday, October 21, 2007

From the Blog to the MP3 . . .


Now that I am traveling to nine cities and twelve venues each month as part of the Emmaus Road Initiative, there simply isn't enough time for me to post blogs. As for the monthly schedule, we try to keep it updated on our alternative weblog.

Meanwhile, one of my friends has been kind enough to write to ask that I upload an occasional post to this blog. The best I can do under the circumstances, is to pass along the opening remarks for the October E.R.I. session.

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Since, as T. S. Eliot wrote in “Little Gidding,” the end of all our exploring will be to arrive at where we started and know the place for the first time,” it behooves us to start in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, for it is into that great Trinitarian Mystery that we are being drawn.

A few things before we begin:

I want to thank you for coming here tonight. I know how busy you are, and I appreciate your willingness to take the time to come here. As Penance, I suppose, for having strained at the leash and kicked at the goad when I was younger, God has rendered me useless for anything but what I’m about to do. So, if you hadn’t come here, I would have had to give this talk on a street corner somewhere, and it’s so much nicer to give it indoors.

Let me also say that if it seems at times that I am paying more attention to my notes than I am to you, please don’t think that I have confused my priorities or forgotten my commitment to trying to be the right person in the right place and returned to a preoccupation with getting the right words in the right order. I will be sticking to my notes precisely because I don’t want to disappoint you, for in what follows I have tried to formulate some complex matters succinctly, and it will save both time and confusion if I exercise a little self-discipline and stick closely to these notes.

And finally a word about the purpose of the Emmaus Road Initiative which might clear up some concerns. The theme of the 2007-2008 ERI is “Inspiring a Wholehearted Faith in a Half-hearted Age.” In other words, this is ultimately a catechetical project.

However diffident some might feel obliged to be when accounting for Christian faith in the multicultural marketplace, when this diffidence infects our catechetical efforts, it is deadly, for it results in the dispensation of a Christian worldview that hasn’t a chance of surviving in the postmodern, post-Christian world we are now entering.

It is not unusual for such diffidence to be mistaken for humility, but, far from consisting of a deference toward the spirit of the age, true humility consists, as St. Paul reminds us, of passing on – intact and in all its robust audacity – the truth which comes to us from the apostles. In the second reading for yesterday’s Mass, St. Paul urges us:
. . . proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2)
Hesitancy or embarrassment in the face of such an arduous and solemn catechetical task, especially when it capitulates to the spirit of the age, may be understandable, but it is not a Christian virtue.

So with that said, let’s begin . . .
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If you live in or near Washington, DC; Hartford, CT; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Santa Rosa, CA; San Diego, CA; Chicago/Wheaton, IL; Dallas, TX, or Houston, TX, then come see me in November.

If you are not able to attend one of the sessions, you can order CDs of the sessions or download audio files of them from our website.)

Again, the monthly schedule is here. We will have the November schedule posted within the next week or so.
Thanks so much for your well-wishes and your prayers,


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