I do most of my thinking about spiritual things at night. Much of what happens in a parish like St. Benedict's is behind the scenes, unseen for the most part. It's all in the preparation, and night time is prep time for me!
Here are parish things I am thinking about and working on tonight: 1. this weekend's homily, 2. Monday's "Spirituality 101" Lecture at St. John the Baptist Church in Kenmore [7:30 pm -I hope you can make it] and 3. RCIA and Holy Week liturgies.
Regarding the homily - Often at this point in the preparation it is a question of what NOT to say in a homily. There are many thoughts whirling about and most of them simply will not make the cut. I am looking for the one main crystal clear idea that orders everything, and then everything else most be shelved. It's homily editing time in other words.
This week's Gospel pericope of the women caught in adultery, for example, has an interesting history in the canon. It was known early in the West but not in the East until much later. Scholars also agree that it sounds a lot more like something from St. Luke's Gospel than St. John's where it is now. I don't know if any of these points will make it to the final draft at this point. That's a perpetual problem for those who preach - how much of the homily become historical-critical "Bible study" and how much becomes application, exhortation or catechesis. Pray I find the right balance! My tendency is to leave the intellectual "footnotes" for the printed homily and keep the spoken homily streamlined and more focused.
The Lecture is coming along well. I am thinking and praying tonight about the order of the points I want to make. I will be giving a definition of spirituality, a quick review of the the past lectures in the series, some cautions and suggestions, and practical devotions and practices to use. I'm debating whether or not to have a handout, and what should be on it. Now to see how these points all fit together and bring them into a coherent whole.
Well, that's the look behind the St. Benedict's scene tonight. Please keep me in your prayer and keep the parish's continued spiritual renewal in mind as well.