Here Am I, Lord – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and the woman hid themselves from God.  But the Lord called to the man, and said, ‘Where are you’?” (Gen 3:8-9)

Those words, “Where are you?” send a shiver through me.  They express in just three words something of the terrible existential loneliness, the alienation of life lived cut off from God.  These words perhaps also express something of the pain and sadness of God when he loses his children, when they break their relationship with him.  God’s plaintive cry ‘where are you’ is his heart-broken response to what Milton in Paradise Lost calls “man’s first disobedience.”

But there are three other words which are spoken time after time throughout Scripture.  And these words, coursing through Scripture like a drum beat, are full of hope, full of promise for the mending of our relationship with God, and of the return of prodigal humanity to the loving heart of God.  These three words are words of faithfulness and obedience, words which will allow God to redeem that which was lost, and bring all of humanity back into relationship with him.  These three words are “Here am I.”  If “Where are you?” are the most tragic words in Scripture, then “Here am I” are the most hopeful. Continue reading

Corpus Christi – Br. David Allen

This sermon for Corpus Christi was preached at Emery House

1 Cor. 11:23-29; Jn 6:47-58

Today we are keeping the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, historically called Corpus Christi. On this solemn feast day we acknowledge and celebrate the meaning of the Holy Eucharist wherein we are spiritually fed by the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ under the forms of consecrated bread and wine, and fed also by the prayers of the whole Church.

All of the Post Communion prayers that we use during the year recognize the importance that the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist has for us, but there is one of those that I think particularly points up that importance in ways that go beyond our daily spiritual nourishment to touch on the cosmic dimensions of what takes place when we have participated in this Holy Sacrament.  That is the prayer that begins with the words, “God of abundance”. Continue reading

It’s a Matter of the Heart – Br. Robert L’Esperance

Belief is primarily a matter of the heart rather than a matter of intellectual assent.  Our pre-Enlightenment ancestors seem to have understood this much more clearly, some would say instinctively, than we do today.  Before modern thought emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was commonly accepted that there were two valid ways of thinking about reality.  The Greeks called these two ways of thinking Logos and Mythos.  Logos here doesn’t refer to the Logos of the Prologue to John’s gospel, it refers to that mode of thinking that is focused on the future and that seeks to better understand nature and improve upon old ways of doing things.1 But unlike most people today, the Greeks understood that Logos could not help us understood the matters of the heart:  love, joy, awe, hope, grief, anger, despair.  In those matters of the heart, the Greeks and other pre-Enlightenment mortals turned to myth; the Greek, Mythos. Continue reading

Vidi Aquam – Br. Mark Brown

John 7:37-39

One of my favorite places in Chicago is the beautiful Buckingham Fountain.  It sits on a large plaza between Lake Michigan and a spectacular wall of skyscrapers.  A big wedding cake of a fountain, it’s sometimes called Chicago’s front door.

I grew up not too far from the Windy City.  I remember Mayor Daly greeting Queen Elizabeth at the fountain in 1957.  She had come down the St. Lawrence Seaway on the royal yacht all the way to Chicago. Flags and bands and rifles and national anthems and so on, ladies curtsying. The queen and the mayor were a study in contrasts.  Fifty-four years ago Elizabeth looked and spoke very much the elegant young queen that she was.  Mayor Daly looked and spoke very much, well, Mayor Daly—the jowly, rotund boss of a huge political machine. You could imagine him smoking cheap cigars (of course, we’re talking about the first Mayor Daly, not the more recent one).

Well, the queen and the mayor are neither here nor there, but it was all pretty impressive to an 8 year old kid from Coal City, Illinois—even on black and white TV. So back to Buckingham Fountain. Continue reading

Look to the Glory – Br. Curtis Almquist

Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. (John 17:1-11)

When people are near death, if they know it, and if they can talk about it, they most often speak in profound simplicity about what really matters to them. They speak about what is most important. And this is true for Jesus, who speaks these words, from today’s Gospel lesson, just prior to his being betrayed, then tried, then crucified, which he knew was coming. What are Jesus’ last words about? They’re about glory: that he would be glorified by the God whom he calls “Father,” and that he, in return, would glorify the Father.1 It’s like a light shining into a mirror, which in turn reflects the light back to its source which, in turn, reflects and receives and reflects and receives so that the light’s beginning becomes it end. Jesus says he looking to reclaim his glory, the glory that he had in the Father’s presence before the world existed. Those are Jesus’ last words, last wishes: glory. Continue reading