Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Want inspirational reading? Buy my book!

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Surprise! I have completed the publication of my first book, Moments of Grace: a selection of homilies for the Church year. It is now available for purchase in paperback. The collection includes 59 chapters and 274 pages from each season of the Church Year, plus some additional feasts days and special occasions.

From the Forward, by the Author:

I have always taken the idea of the Spirit-anointed preacher as my model in approaching the pulpit. The proclamation of the Word of God, particularly in the divine Liturgy, is a solemn ministry that is both an offering of worship and a way of opening up the hearts and minds of a congregation to the life of the Spirit ministering in the Church. We might begin by asking, What is the Spirit-anointed preacher?

First of all, the "Spirit-anointed" preacher is a man commissioned by the authority of the Church (normally in Holy Orders) who preaches the Word of God. He does not preach his own words, nor is he called to really share his "expert opinion" in matters social and spiritual. He does not have that liberty. He is one whose main task is to give voice to the Tradition--to be the teaching church for the learning church.

The Spirit-anointed preacher preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is one who is always proclaiming the message of Another. It is precisely for this reason that he proclaims the truth to a world struggling to find belief, knowledge, and understanding of the truth. The primary end of his proclamation is to make known the reality of incarnate Truth. In doing so, the Spirit flows through the preacher to address needs in those to whom he ministers by the power of the same Spirit.

Secondly, I would note that the Spirit-anointed preacher listens to God in preparing and delivering his message. The very idea of preaching presupposes that God has a message to be delivered. In this way, the preacher lives into a truly prophetic role in the life of a worshipping community. The preacher listens to the still small voice of the Father through the study of the holy Scriptures.

The great English Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon put it this way in speaking of cultivating the art of preaching, "It is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until you come to talk in scriptural language and your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord, so that your blood is bibline and the very essence of the Bible flows though you."

In the written Word, the preacher become accustomed and attuned to the voice of the eternal Word. In doing so, he cannot help but become a man of prayer, seeking and relating God's will for the people in and out of the pulpit so much so that the act of preaching becomes an act of prayer itself. In this sense, preaching is no longer so utterly dissimilar from the rest of the Liturgy, which itself is both didactic and worshipful in nature.

Lastly, I would note that the Spirit-anointed preacher strives to practice what he preaches. While he is careful not to preach what he practices (for even the Spirit-anointed preacher needs to be led and challenged by his own words if they are to truly convey God's message), he does seek to lead by example. In leading by example, he is careful to support others in their struggle toward proficiency. The Spirit-anointed preacher is mindful of the power of holy living, as is noted in St Francis' admonition, "Preach often; use words if necessary."

I hope to complete two more works before the end of the year--a book on the commandments and a book on the sacraments. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

dopel said...

I am really looking forward to getting this book. I have one of the few copies of your first book.