Pastry Chefs & Prostitutes [& Theology]

Today, I am simply posting a dear friend’s commencement speech from last week at our Seminary’s graduation. Hi name is Austin Ashcraft, and he gave me permission to post his brother’s phone recording (text here).

In just a few minutes, Austin captured a dynamic vision of theological education that offers a real response to the aggression of atheistic secularism with an equally impassioned theistic secularism, i.e. that prepares students to hand over a God who “so loved the world” in (an uncaged) Christ.

Let me tell you, the quality of seminarians and laity who graduated this year makes me realize the New Evangelization is in full throttle in the Deep South.

3 comments on “Pastry Chefs & Prostitutes [& Theology]

  1. Nos says:

    Let us hope that they (this new class of theologians) can pass on the truth of the faith. . . That the mercy pope Francis calls for is guided by a keen sense of the morality that CHRIST called for when he told the sinful woman go and sin no more . . . With love we chastise our children when they are naughty, sometimes the rod is needed , other times a loving chastisement so to are we called to lovingly evangelize ( inform, correct ,whatever word you choose, )those who ,my self included, fall far far far short of the will of the FATHER. mercy certainly but with a moral compass that CHRIST gave us . . . May the new evangelization follow that of the old , AS I HAVE LOVED YOU ,LOVE ONE ANOTHER + + +

    • Yes! If mercy is “love encountering evil and overcoming it,” all that you say follows. One of the remarkable things about Austin is just how effectively mercy works through him in bringing those far far away back to God. There are crowds of parents out there who sing thanks to God for his work of helping young people see the beauty of faith, Patti and I included.
      “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever!!!!”
      As an aside, “spare the rod” refers to the shepherd’s rod used to ward off wolves, and so to the duty of the parent to protect their children from the dangerous influences of a world full of predators! YOU’VE DONE THAT WELL, NOS!!!!!!

  2. DismasDancing says:

    A near-perfect example of the KISS principle. Short, sweet, spot on point, and beautifully reflective of what lies within this gent’s heart at the culmination of his time at the seminary. Not only that, his words beautifully define the folks behind this young man’s education. Obviously, my dear friend, that includes you and your staff and the care with which you prep men to “go, therefore, into all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” During our recent retreat we were privileged to have with us a wonderful young, Polish priest. As I listened to Mr. Ashcraft’s poignant comments, I was pleasantly reminded of our chaplain who seemed to exhibit in spades exactly what your friend’s comments were meant to convey. Thus, the following comments:

    Many of my dear brothers in the ACTS community who led the retreat are currently engaged in preparation for consecrating oneself to Divine Mercy, using the beautiful book “33 Days to Merciful Love,” (Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC who also authored the precursor retreat, “33 Days to Morning Glory” based on St Louis de Montfort consecration to Jesus through Mary).” During our recent retreat, team members discussed specifics of this program, eagerly listening to a couple of teammates who had already completed the consecration. In those conversations, others of us found something for which we had been longing for years, an “easier” way, if you will, to immerse ourselves into personal regimens that enable us to deepen our love and trust of and in God and His Infinite Mercy. The plan follows the “little way” of one of the great Doctors of the Church, Saint Therese of Lisieux, “The Little Flower of Jesus.” For one who, throughout careers in both public and private sectors of our county, attempted to adopt the KISS principle in every endeavor, this “new” way of looking at and executing prayer, faith, mercy, Mt 25,, grabbed my attention immediately. Like Mr. Ashcraft’s view of how to “go out to the world” with a (not “the”) correct attitude caused me to reflect on all of it, the “What am I doing here? and “How do I successfully get to “there”, there being eternal salvation?” Not to mention dragging others along with me.

    The Love my brothers and I share, especially during our ACTS involvement, is awesomely energizing. I am eternally grateful to them for, in “giving” of our time to a couple of dozen retreatants, we always “receive” so much more in return. Our discussions on consecration are but one facet of a myriad of positive results. Doing retreat prep together makes it just that much more powerful since we, too, must “come down from the mountain” following a retreat. The shared “burden” of leaving the comfort of that mountain and immediately delving into a consecration effort, does indeed fulfill the “law of Christ” in my view. In that, we come to know and love each other as Our Lord Jesus would have us do. We come to better understand the how and what of Jesus’ direction to us ALL, “love one another as I have loved you.” Austin Ashcraft’s excellent comments lend credence to 1) my own belief that Holy Mother Church is beginning to heal following years of being astray; 2) that in and through priests like Austin going forth into our broken world, Jesus Christ’s promise that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” is beautifully confirmed in a world that would rather have none of it! Deo Gratias! Deo Gratias! Deo Gratias!

    Thanks for posting. Timely and spot-on message. Pax Tecum, frater! DD

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