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Humanities conf

October 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Tonight, we had our annual Humanities Conference.  Our special guest was Fr Mark, a Dominican priest who teaches at Barry University.  He did a great powerpoint presentation on “Visual Christianity: Interpreting the Theological Tradition.”  Lots of architecture from Revena, Italy as well as Wahaka, Mexico.

Church history, #2 Paul the Troubleshooter

St. Paul the ApostleAs I revist the book, The Story of the Church: Peak Moments from Pentecost to the Year 2000, chapter 2 is “First-Century Adjustments,” focusing on Paul the Apostle.  It has always confused me how Paul was the “go-to-guy” to answer any questions of theology & the Christian life.  He wasn’t even one of the original 12 apostles, but spoke with such authority, even declaring himself an apostle.  His conversion story (Acts 9) is amazing enough.  But even more unbelievable is how fast the Christian community embraced him and bestowed authority to dictate Christian “policy,” an even greater testament to grace and the submission to the Holy Spirit.

Paul is a master cameleon of evangelization, able to adapt the gospel message to any culture.  He was well-versed in the Hebrew Scriptures (OT), had a heart for his audience, walked in their shoes, and presented the challenge of the Gospel in their “language.” — everything a Christian is called to do.  A great example is Paul’s sermon to the Athenians in Acts 17:16-34.  It seems so supernatural … because it is … it’s only possible through the Holy Spirit.

That reminds me of a line from the “Fishers of Men” priesthood video when it’s said, “It’s not natural to be a priest … it’s a supernatural calling.”  — You can’t disagree with that.

Church history, #1 Pentecost

While awaiting “Lost” on ABC, I caught a bit on PBS on the Inquisition.  I realized that I didn’t know much about Church history, especially the bad stuff.  So I found The Story of the Church: Peak Moments from Pentecost to the Year 2000, a book we used in the 2-year lay ministry program I went through some years ago.  I wanted to review it (especially since I didn’t read it during the course) and started with peak #1, Pentecost.

Pentecost (50 days after Easter)After Pentecost, Peter reminds the crowd that Israel is to be the light of nations, that is, to be a missionary witness helping all people to know God, just like in the story of Jonah.  The Tower of Babel was human pride resulting in a breakdown in communication, separating people.  In Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit unified the people in mind and heart for God.  The day coincides with the Jewish feast of Shavuot.  As the old covenant was commemorated in Passover and completed on Mount Sinai with the 10 Commandments, so the new covenant begins with the Easter Triduum and ends with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), the birth of the Church.

That alone should rally all Catholics to evangelize the world, but then I read this:

Only two percent of Catholics are willing to witness their faith to others and invite them to faith in Jesus and communion with the Church.  Contrast this with evangelical Protestant Christians, who are far more enthusiastic about sharing their faith.

That 2% may account for all priests and religious.  As if priests don’t have enough to do.  Lighting a fire under apathetic Catholics is what frustrates me about our faith, and a major reason I put off pursuing the priesthood.  I’ve got patience, but this requires a real revival.  I guess I just got tired of just complaining and want to be part of the solution.  So here I am.  “Send me!”