In the period from to , with the rise of the great preaching orders and the spread of scholasticism, preaching flourished both in practice and in theory. Special manuals proliferated; well over are known, although most of them are still in manuscript form, unpublished. Many are anonymous. These systematic treatises are quite different from the sketchy and rudimentary attempts of the earlier period to give outline to the art, a period when the direct and uncomplicated homily was the common type of preaching. The professed aim of the preacher was to win souls to God, to provide instruction in faith and morals. He was advised to feed the mind rather than charm the ear, to confer profit rather than delight, and not to make a vainglorious display of his powers.
|Published (Last):||10 April 2008|
|PDF File Size:||18.62 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||16.75 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Edward Foley, Capuchin A few years ago I had the privilege of collaborating on a writing project with a very gifted and imaginative preacher, David Lose. She has come to Robert de Braidicourt, a military squire, to solicit his support for her campaign. In fact, one such voice has instructed her to come to petition Robert. Pastor Lose then notes how this scene sheds light on an important, though often overlooked element of faith. While it is easy to assume that faith is primarily about knowledge, it is also very much about imagination.
For whatever knowledge or experience one may possess, one still has to imagine the difference faith makes, the world it assumes, the actions it demands, and the kind of life it invites. If that is true, then one of the tasks of preaching — of this homily — is to bolster people of faith by stimulating their religious imaginations. Helping you — as well as me — envision where God is as the world is quarantined; where grace is, when first responders around the globe are dying; where hope is, as unemployment rises, incomes evaporate; and fear, even desperation, invade our lives.
But how do we engage these ancient texts for interpreting this unexpected medical and economic crisis? What do they say about navigating uncharted waters, about negotiating this personal and social threat? About faith at a time of such massive suffering and death? It may take a little imagination. Poet and preacher Thomas Troeger opens a door here, suggesting that one ancient form of preaching yet useful today is based on the presumption that there is more to the story than what is related in the biblical text.
Troeger argues that these are not flights of pure fancy but theologically disciplined acts of imagination that seek to honor the spirit of the text, while they draw upon larger perspectives in the gospels, in our traditions, and in our experience. And it is today in which I set these lost scenes and characters. There are many elements of the gospel that lend themselves to a modern interpretation, with the disciples apparently self-quarantined in some unknown location, fearing the same infectious hatred that killed their Lord and now threatens their well-being.
But if they were safe and secure in their self-isolation, why did Thomas venture out? Was he at the Walgreens or sneaking out to the Lakefront? Was he wearing a mask? Did he have hand sanitizer? Was he maintaining social distancing? And would he endanger the other disciplines in returning, exposing them to a contagion they were trying to avoid?
There is a throw-away word in the Gospel that helps me imagine answers to these questions. Actually, the name Thomas itself was derived from the Aramaic word for Twin. So in his name and in his title the gospel asserts he had a sibling counterpart. The poet Denise Levertov d. I heard him cry out, weeping and speak those words, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief,.
Many of the larger suburban parishes that routinely get more than people the limit now set for public gatherings by the state of Maryland have already canceled their Masses. The Cathedral usually gets not many more than at each of the five Sunday Masses, so, at least for the moment, we are proceeding with public celebration of the liturgy. Others will be making much greater sacrifices. This has got me thinking about what we might do for however long the suspension of public worship lasts in order to at least virtually gather people together. This is why the Samaritan woman is so shocked to have Jesus ask her for water; it is as if you asked to drink from the water bottle of someone with a deadly disease.
Ars Praedicandi Populo