Sunday, February 11, 2007

Missionaries style of "Preaching"

This is a video of a talk on Dominican preaching at the Vocations Retreat for the St. Joseph Province Dominicans by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. It's a great understanding of the Missionaries style of "preaching," or rather evangelization. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Misunderstanding of Human Sexuality, PT II

"You guys are disgusting, 'preaching to people about how to live their lives.'"

So we begin with the first part of the comment.

On preaching - Being that I want to become a Dominican (the Order of Preachers), preaching is extremely important for me. However, preaching like they used to do in the medieval days is not the same form of preaching that is most affective in today's world.

The preaching of old, marching into the town square with your other friars, priests, religious, etc., and then speaking the word of God and calling the town to repentence, wouldn't make much sense in today's society. Can you imagine a preacher going to the square in the heart of Mexico City, right in front of the Cathedral and preaching to the town? First off, there are far too many people in Mexico City to gather in the "town square." Furthermore, there is too much going on with the development of society for that many people to skip out on work. Back in the old days, there were less people and work was different. People didn't work 9-5 jobs everyday.

Nowadays, preaching comes in a much different sense. Preaching should be centered around being a living witness. Let me explain this a little. If someone sees me condemning premarital sex, but they know that I'm going to go home to my girlfriend and spend the night, they're going to think twice about whether or not to believe you. Now, a key thing at the same time, is that we're all sinners. We do sin, and while I'll make a point to tell someone in private that they shouldn't sin so as not to humiliate them in front of their friends, I could very well be guilty of the sin that I am instructing them not to commit anyone. With this in mind, we must remember that even if we are guilty of the same sin, that does not mean that we can't call our brothers and sisters to holiness.

So preaching leads us to living a wholesome life centered on natural law and Divine Law. It is not something that is disgusting because we are all sinners. We all share in the same temptations, and when the grace is present for one person to call another to holiness and out of their former way of life, it is something rather beautiful. We should celebrate the chance to be corrected because it is through that interaction between persons that God is revealed. We come to learn more about God through the acts of fraternal correction, and this calls us to a greater understanding of what it means to be human. There should be great joy in accepting the gift of a correction, not disgust that someone else has called us out of our comfort zone. The gift of one's self, of going above and beyond, all for the sake of the other is beautiful. Now, if the preacher is condemning the person rather than the sin, there is a problem. But, as long as the preacher is focusing on the sin, not the sinner, then we can see the beauty of what it means to live within a community, a communion of persons where actions, whether or not they seem private, actually have an affect on the outcome of society. This might sound like a bold statement, but it's really true. There is no private sin. In being graced to notice the splinter in another's eye, we must find our own faults too, but we can't forget that in helping to get the splinter out of our brother's eye, we are actually helping him heal.

Thus preaching, based on a gift of self to the other, is actually a tool for establishing the communion of persons.

A Misunderstanding of Human Sexuality, PT I

Recently we received a comment on our blog that before we could even appropriately deal with it, we couldn't find it any longer. The gist of the comment went like this:

"You guys are disgusting, 'preaching to people about how to live their lives.' I like sex, even sex with people of my gender. 'Gay people are good. Straight people are good. Transgendered people are good.' 'Condoms are good: they prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs.' They make sex wonderful, and if it's so good then why worry about the kids part and not just indulge in pleasure?

You guys write terrible blog entries, and even with the 'work' you do, homosexuality will continue. I'm proud to be homosexual! 'Get off your high horse, learn to spell...and crawl back into whatever dirty hole you came out of. You're a bully, a bigot, and an *******.'"

Well, with that in mind, we're going to take this chance as a sign that we need more catechesis on our blog. I'm going to skip all the ad hominem attacks and go on to what is actually important.

So with this in mind, we must state first off, that if people feel like we're condemning them, then they're misunderstanding us. We're not about condemnation but about using the desires that they truly have and showing them that they're actually desiring something even greater. As odd as this might sound, the people who understand the teachings of the Church better are the ones who are trying to understand love, even if they're doing it in weird and even sinful ways. The people who understand it less are the ones who in an effort to fight sin, go too far to the right and condemn everything. They're the ones who are really missing the buck.

With that said, welcome to the new year. Enjoy the posts to come.

Furthermore, check out the TOB blog from our Missionaries in DC:

Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.