Friday, July 18, 2008

Catechesis From Fordham Alum, and Review of Theology of the Body Workshop

Wednesday Catechesis:
Our Catechesis yesterday had a Fordham flare: Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa was our teacher, and he graduated with a BA from Fordham some time ago (1967 I believe). We got a great photo with him; I know Fr. McShane will be pleased. Archbishop Predergast is a simple guy; he's very friendly, and clearly has a strong relationship with the Lord. He communicates at a very personable level.

He shared with us the initiative of four young men whom he met while serving as Bishop in Halifax. These men wanted to start a hostel for young men of faith, and their initiative grew into a whole movement that still continues in Canada today. "The Holy Spirit institutionalizes the charisms of movements." He encouraged us to discover our spirituality, and thus discover Jesus Christ.

He listed four ways in which the Holy Spirit acts:
Power- he cited the tale of the Landowner in Mark, where the Landowner gives his servants a share in his authority to run the estate. The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses, to perform deeds, etc.
Presence- the Holy Spirit is Jesus' continued presence in our lives; In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus commissions his disciples to "Go out and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... Remember that I am with you always, until the end of time."
Paraclete/Protector- Parakletos means many things, but chiefly, it can mean assistant, advocate, protector. The Holy Spirit stands besides us and advocates for us.
Person- In Luke and Acts, the Holy Spirit is personified: it is "power from on high." Its presence is powerful.

He also noted that often, what appears to us as a negative (such as a tough situation, a tragedy, etc) becomes a positive by the power of the Holy Spirit.

One of his final comments, which came during question and answer, was his clarification of what holiness means. "Holiness is being sanctified in the world." This is something worth reflecting on. It's not simply going to Mass and following the 10 Commandments, but doing so while in dialogue with this world.

Christopher West's lecture on the Theology of the Body
He's pretty incredible. This post is long enough as it is, so I'll keep it sweet and simple: Our society has been settling for less than we deserve. We have separated God from our sexuality, and that's not good. The Bible itself shows that human sexuality and God are woven together, and in fact, that sex only finds its full meaning within the context of the Sacrament of Marriage. He's quite dynamic. You'd think you were watching an Evangelical preacher on Sunday morning television.

Thusday Catechesis and Events:
Catechesis from Bishop Greg O. Kelly
To summarize his main point, it is that we as Catholics need to develop our spirituality, and we also need to do so within the context of Church. The Church is a major instrument of receiving God's revelation and the Bread of Life, so we need to find ourselves within the Church.

"Christ is the sacrament of God, and the Church is the sacrament of Christ." This was a reference to Karl Rahner.

Benedict XVI's Arrival at World Youth Day
The Pope arrived via boat-a-cade to Barangaroo, and presided over a prayer service. His Homily addressed relativism and secularism in particular, and he reminded us young people that Christ's Good News is for everyone. To encourage us, he explained that the Apostles were ordinary men; they even denied Jesus. Yet, when empowered by the Holy Spirit, they became "transfixed on the Gospel." He also addressed the need for environmental awareness, sustainability, and true equality and protection of life.

I'm excited to hear him speak more. Today, tomorrow, and Sunday will be really great!

Today: Morning Catechesis, Stations of the Cross with Benedict XVI, Receive the Power Live (featuring Matt Maher, Darlene Zscheck and Hillsong United)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's awesome, I'm curious to hear about how the Fordham group will attend the three days of Catechesis, and what each of you will get out of the three hours or so. I'll be watching the Pope's arrival on TV tonight!