Preaching on Mercy

September 24, 2012

“Were you a thief your whole life?” “Yes, I was a full time thief.” “Then, how did you come to recognize Jesus as the Christ?” “It was when I looked into his eyes and saw his gentleness and everything I was not.”

The Irish poet and priest Fr. Paul Murray, O.P. eloquently made the case for God last Friday night at Saint Joseph’s in Greenwich Village.  He explained that it is in God’s encounter with the “good” thief, and with every sinner, that he manifests his principle attribute of Mercy. Fr. Paul called on the Third Order Dominican and Doctor of the Church, Saint Catherine of Siena to support this claim.  In her blessed confusion over God’s “foolishness” she wrote: O eternal Father!  O eternal wisdom!  O eternal Mercy!  O hope and refuge of sinners!  O mad Lover!  Are you indeed in need of your creature? It seems to me you are for you behave as if you could not live without her. Why then are you so mad?  Because you have fallen in love with what you have made! You are pleased and delighted over her within yourself, as if you were drunk for her salvation. She runs away from you and you go looking for her. She strays and you draw closer to her. You clothed yourself in our humanity and nearer than that you could not have come. Fr. Paul is a gifted wordsmith;  “silver-tongued” as his fellow Dominican Fr. Allan White, O.P., described him.  Yet it is the priest’s humor and his capacity to bring the truth of God’s Word to a skeptical and secular world with humbleness and simplicity that warms the heart. If you are interested in hearing Fr. Paul Murray speak here are two more opportunities:

Falling Toward God: Simple Prayer/Complicated Life.

Tuesday September 25, 2012, 6:30 pm: Attendance is free, but the reception is limited so please register here for a ticket. Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, 869 Lexington Avenue.

Searching for God: Contemplative Prayer in the Dominican Tradition.

Saturday September 29, 2012, 10:00am – 1:00pm: Attendance is free, but the reception is limited.  Please register here for a ticket. Father Paul will uncover the foundations of the Dominican tradition of contemplation and its grounding in Christian witness and mission as it has developed over the centuries in the work of Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Meister Eckhart and many members of the Dominican Family. Father Allan White, O.P., will also present, “Theology with a Paintbrush: Prayer and Incarnation in Renaissance Art.” Fr. Allan is the Director of the NYU Catholic Center. Originally from England he has spent most of his apostolic life as a Dominican in the pastoral care of university students and teaching in Edinburgh, Oxford, London and Cambridge. The Fifteenth Century Dominican Artist, Fra Angelico, is noted for the brilliance of his artistic technique and the sublime elegance of his painting. The theological and religious foundation on which this work was based is rarely investigated. In his presentation Fr. Allan hopes to show the influence on Fra Angelico of a profound faith in the Incarnation lived in the context of the poverty and simplicity of the life of a Preaching Friar. NYU Catholic Center, 238 Thompson Street.

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