Now What To Do?
We began with a discussion of Mary, left alone at home, after departure of the Angel Gabriel who had just shown up uninvited with an unexpected announcement of an unexplainable pregnancy. It was the topic of Father Linsky’s recent homily at the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It seems to me that the point of the ensuing discussion was that we all, like Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Zachariah, have a role to play in God’s “Theodrama” and must seek to understand and play that role, even if we feel alone. So, how will we respond?
I’ll give Bishop Barron credit for the term “Theodrama,” used in his brief commentary on the Visitation, the Gospel Reading on the Third Thursday of Advent. He differentiates God’s “theodrama” from our own “egodramas” and challenges us to switch from the latter to the former. I recommend subscribing to his free Daily Gospel Reflections. They are very short. Here is a screen shot of what he wrote about Mary’s immediate action, alone following the departure of the angel. She headed out to tell somebody about it.
In Sacred Scripture (The Bible)
In Luke Chapter 1, the story of the Annunciation, ending with the Angel departing and leaving Mary alone, is followed immediately by the story of the Visitation, Mary anxious to share her story with another leading character in the Theodrama. Below are both stories in an outline form common in New Testament writing, the beginnings and endings clearly pointed out and the primary message in a center high point of the story. (These ancient texts had no chapters or verses and used such structures to point out beginnings and endings.)
Spirituality (Like Mary’s)?
At Confession during Advent 2012 I lamented my own lack of spirituality, and the Priest challenged me to read a particular book on Christian Spirituality. I know when it happened because I can look back through my Amazon purchases and see when I bought the book, The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser, a Priest and specialist in the fields of spirituality and systematic theology.
The point of the book is that as humans created “in the image of God,” we are inherently spiritual beings and must face and answer the question of how to harness and direct that spirituality, how to play our role in God’s theodrama.
I see I scribbled in the margin of the book at my first reading the last few words of the Boy Scout Oath: To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. I suppose a Christian theologian might have added, “Spiritually Focused because a person could certainly be physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight and still never accomplish anything worthwhile or make any progress or even worry about his or her role in God’s theodrama, instead being caught up only in his or her egodrama, trying to feel good and become rich and successful or popular without lying, cheating, or stealing. It makes me think of an old self-righteous expression of my youth: “I don’t smoke and I don’t chew and I don’t go with girls that do.” (Sorry about that.) Anyway, the book and ideas on spirituality just seemed a nice tie-in to Bishop Barron’s reflection.
Other references mentioned during the MPG discussion:
(He stopped writing!)
(Part of discussion about stereotypical male misbehavior’s.)
3. In discussion about evangelism, someone mentioned a particular Catholic Church experiencing dynamic growth. It is Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland, with the simple mission: Love God, Love Others, Make Disciples, clearly adapted from the Greatest Commandments and The Great Commission. You can take a look at their website here. They are using Podcasts as part of their Christian Education. You can listen to one on The Bible here. And, if you want to hear their Praise Band, it is here. I’m guessing the median age of their parishioners may be quite different from that of St. Peter’s.
Next Week – December 27th
No Men’s Prayer Group Meeting next week, December 27th. That is good since I have a Home Works project that day with a bunch of Presbyterian Youth. I could use the prayer but also will need the sleep. I’m meeting the youth at 10am after it gets warm enough, hopefully, to paint.