Beautiful Feet

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy,
and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said,
“Greetings!”
And they came to him, took hold of his feet,
and worshiped him.  — Matt. 28:8-9

Fear and great joy. Ran. Greetings! Took hold of his feet, and worshiped.

What a scene! Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary,” after seeing the angels and hearing their proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection, sped off only to be stopped “suddenly” by Jesus greeting them. Imagine how disorienting this all must have been for them. And their reaction? To seize hold of his feet!

How tender, how human, how intimate.

The verb “to seize” used here was used in only one other place in the Gospel of Matthew: in the Garden of Gethsemane when, after Judas’ betrayal, the Temple guards seized Jesus to take him off for trial and execution (26:50).

How lovely that now Jesus’ feet, forever bearing wounds opened by betrayal, are seized by joyful love from these faithful women who never fled during the Passion (cf Matt 27:55-56). It is most fitting that they, who had come to the tomb to honor Jesus’ dead body, are the first to worship him as Risen.

Isaiah 52:7 rings through these messengers of the Messenger:

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Those feet are worthy of worship, for

he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his wounds we are healed. — Isaiah 53:5

The feet of a God who came to wash his creatures’ feet, symbols of God’s extreme humility and tender love. Let us become like this Most Low God whom we worship.

Ashley and Maria: Opening for the Donuts!

Pia

Just a note to the Mashley fan base that they will be opening for Bag of Donuts this Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. at Rock n Bowl in New Orleans!

It is a big night for Bag of Donuts, as they will be the first cover band to be inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. See details here.

Donuts, and in particular bass guitar player Jerry Christopher, have given the girls amazing opportunities to perform in public venues. How grateful we, and Ashley’s family, are to them!

Theology of Gender, seen through a JEM

I interrupt again my Blog break to promote the work of a dear colleague-friend of mine, Dr. Jennifer E. Miller. She teaches with me at Notre Dame Seminary.

Jennifer is preparing to embark on a year-long sabbatical dedicated to research and writing on a culturally hot topic, the Christian meaning of gender and sexual identity.

She and I have long talked about the need for serious Catholic theological scholarship on this topic, and she has decided to embark on a bold, global and essential journey in service to the Church’s teaching mission.

I rarely do this, but I highly recommend you not only follow and share her work, but support it. She is a woman of faith and a person of the highest integrity, and will do great things.

Below are her website and Go Fund Me sites. Please read, follow, share:

https://jemillerstd.wixsite.com/redeeminggender

https://www.gofundme.com/dr-miller039s-travel-research-on-gender

Archdiocesan Lenten Day of Reflection: A Preview

Archdiocesan Lenten Day of Reflection
March 12, 2019
“Blessed are those who mourn.” — Matt. 5:4
Presented by Fr. Dustin Feddon and Dr. Tom Neal
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Grieving is a universal human experience. It is often closely connected to our encounters with failure and loss, especially the loss of hope or the sting of death. No one seeks out grief, but all of us are confronted by it. This is why it is so stunning that, in the Beatitudes, Jesus calls “blessed” — supremely happy! — those who grieve, making it a sort of hallmark for Christian discipleship. How can this be? How can joy come from grief, happiness from weeping, comfort from sorrow?
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This Lenten Day of Reflection will be dedicated to this theme of “blessed mourning,” and will include talks, quiet time, small group conversation, and Mass. We will explore the themes of history and memory, suffering and hope, and how these find their ultimate meaning in Christ. Our goal is to offer all Archdiocesan staff the opportunity to prayerfully reflect on the ways Christ wishes to join grief and joy in your life, and challenge you to embrace more firmly your calling to become ambassadors of hope in Christ’s joy in an often hopeless and suffering world.
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Fr. Dustin Feddon is the Pastoral Administrator of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Crawfordville, Florida, and Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Lanark, Florida. He also serves as a prison chaplain in the Florida Panhandle and is co-founder of the Joseph House reentry program, which offers a range of services for accompanying our brothers and sisters leaving prison. Fr. Feddon’s theme will be, “Blessed are those who Mourn: Making History Matter and the Act of Remembrance.”
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Dr. Tom Neal is a professor of Theology at Notre Dame Seminary. Dr Tom’s theme will be, “Blessed are those who Mourn: Discovering Hope in Suffering”

Bible Marathon!

At the Seminary I work at, we have a 24/7 public reading of the entire Bible through Saturday afternoon, outside at the fountain in front of the Seminary building. My wife and I will read for 40 minutes Friday morning (9:40-10:20 CST). Feel free to tune in any time on this live stream (below) during those days to hear God’s Word proclaimed aloud!

“God is the friend of silence” — Mother Teresa

[In keeping with the demands of an incredibly busy semester, I will likely not post again until Friday]

Archbishop Theophilus came to Scetis [a monastery in the Egyptian desert] one day. The brethren who were assembled said to Abba Pambo, who had said nothing as the archbishop entered his cell, “Say something to the archbishop, so that he may be edified.” The old man said to them, “If he is not edified by my silence, he will not be edified by my speech.”

My first spiritual director, a Trappist monk, wrote me once that among the most important signs of a man’s greatness is his capacity to be at home in silence. He said, “If you can’t be at home with yourself alone and in silence, you are not yet fully human … Praying demands more listening than speaking. Thinking requires a space free from noise. Friendship demands an intimacy that transcends words. There are those who have no place for inner silence and talk out of compulsion, and there are those who are at home with silence and speak deliberately with serene freedom. While the first leave you unsettled, the second bring you peace.”

A seasoned marriage therapist I know asks couples who reach an impasse in a counseling session to stop and sit in silence for a period of time, just looking at each other. She says, “It’s almost always the case that when we resume, the dispositions are better and more open. In the quiet, both relearn how to receive the other as they are.”

Recently, a friend of mine texted me after he had gone to spiritual direction with an elder priest who, I can say from first hand experience, is about as close to human sanctity as I have gotten. Here is what my friend said, which I will leave as the last word today:

All I will say is that towards the end, he finished a comment and we sat in silence for 4-5 minutes. And in that silence I learned more than discussion with him over the past 2 years. It was indescribable. Felt like heaven just ripped the veil and sat there with us. I don’t quite have words to process it. I feel like I need to go back and do a time of lectio on that silence. Don’t know if I have felt the presence of a person more powerfully. Like his whole life, everything he stands for spoke for itself…it was the humility of his silence…the humility of someone who knows how to be silent like that and doesn’t feel need to fill the empty void with idle chatter. I kept being tempted to fill it. A minute, three minutes went by. He was unphased, like he could have been there for an hour like that. I actually think it was longer than 5 minutes…it was the sense of the humility of this man. Only thing I can compare it to is the humility of heaven. So present, so exposed. All his words to me earlier took on a whole new meaning in that silence…