Fiona Bradley is one of the most organised people I know. She is the brains behind Melbourne’s Verso L’Alto walking group, among many other things. Now she is organising a reflection day on personally knowing Jesus Christ.
Way back in February she contacted me with this idea, which even then was well defined and ambitious:
In an effort to put my theological studies to some use in my parish I have been working on a number of projects over the past few years with encouraging results. I am organising a reflection day for not only the benefit of the parish but those who have been coming along to the faith talks, the sharing groups, and the book club I’ve been running.
The theme of the day will be Knowing Jesus Christ and the other two speakers will be Dominicans Fr Dominic Murphy and Br James Baxter. I think you would complement the other two speakers wonderfully and I wondered therefore if you would be interested in making the trek out to Nazareth House, Camberwell to give one of the talks at the reflection day on Saturday 18 July?
The talk itself would last for 40-50mins and I’m happy to be guided by you as to exact topic. I did think though that it would be wonderful to hear from you about people’s personal relationship with Christ. Do people really consider his words that what we do to the least of his people we do to Christ himself? Do we consider that when we sin we offend or and hurt him as well as those around us or ourselves? St Augustine taught that earthly things are a means to enjoy or love God — do we see God as our end goal or is God the Son still too abstract for us to develop the kind of love God wants from us? I dunno…they are just some thoughts that come to mind when I think about this. There is certainly great scope for a topic of your choice that fits within the theme.
After some prayer and deliberation, the topics of the three presentations have emerged:
- Fr Dom: “Knowing Jesus through the Sacraments.”
- Me: “Knowing Jesus through reading Sacred Scripture.”
- Br James: “Knowing Jesus in the Rosary.”
My intention is to relate the tradition of lectio divina, with a focus on the different reasons we read the Bible — ie: study, meditation, contemplation — and the contrasting fruits of such readings. I’ll do that through an examination of the lives of a few saints. I think it was Pope Benedict who remarked that the saints are like “living Gospels,” who incarnate the life of Christ in their own time. I’d like to develop that idea.
Can you tell that I’m maybe not quite so organised as Fiona? I haven’t actually sat down yet to draft my talk. But it’s taking shape in my prayers and in my thoughts.
If you’re in Melbourne, you should come. Fr Dom and Br James, at least, will be well worth hearing!