25 March 2011

Sneak Preview -- Talk on the Annunciation

Well, here's the outline that approaches 500 words.  Enjoy.  Comments appreciated.  But note, I really am a "feel" presenter and the outline is just that: an outline.

The Feast of the Annunciation – Friday, March 25, 2011
1.       Introduction
a.       Three talks: Annunciation, Prodigal Son, Women at Well – Overwhelming Gift of God’s love is what unites these talks, Lent, the Church, our faith – everything.
b.      “I began to shudder yet catch fire with longing: I shudder inasmuch as I am unlike him, yet I am afire with longing for him because some likeness there is.” Augustine, Confessions, Book XI, Chapter 9,11
c.       Give me a lever big enough and I could move the world (Archimedes); give the world a faith strong enough and it would move on its own.
d.      Let’s look at these three Gospels in this way:
                                                               i.      What it tells us about Jesus/God
                                                             ii.      What it tells us about the way God works
                                                            iii.      What it tells us about how we [re]-act – remember God always, always acts first!
2.       Ask member of the audience to read the Gospel. (LUKE 1: 26-38)
3.       The Annunciation – Beginning of Luke’s Gospel
a.       Against the backdrop of J-Bap.
b.      Jesus as greater in each way.
4.       What does the Annunciation tell us about God and how God acts?
a.       God acts in time and history: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel… a town in Galilee called Nazareth.
                                                               i.      God particularly acts in the time, life and messiness of our human lives;
                                                             ii.      Bernard of Clairvaux: God does not suffer, but he suffers with.  (The meaning of com-passion)
                                                            iii.      The meaning of compassion for our lives
                                                           iv.      Francis: a heart sensitive to misery – from the Testament. “The Lord himself led me among them and I showed them a heart sensitive to misery”
b.      God is surprising: She was much perplexed…
                                                               i.      Very often: why me?
                                                             ii.      This is the life we have chosen; or is it really?  Instead, this is the life of grace that God has chosen for us. 
                                                            iii.      Story of Brother Jim going to Mexico (at age 67): What are you doing? God’s work. When will you leave?  When it’s finished. When will it be finished?  When God tells me.
c.       God chooses us specifically and does so by name.
                                                              i.      God calls us by name, as he did Mary.
                                                            ii.      We also call God by name – this is the “Christian difference” à don’t let anyone tell you that we’re not doing anything meaningful; we can have the courage to call God by name by nature of our baptism
d.      Who God is and how God acts are intimately connected;
                                                               i.      Augustine: the Father gives everything to the Son, the Son gives everything to the Father and the Holy Spirit is the gift of that giving.
5.       How do we respond to this?
a.       It seems as if things start from an internal place of peace, just as the Annunciation did;
b.      And then there is an explosion of love (Benedict XVI, Easter Vigil 2006)
6.        “The Lord is with you.”
a.       The complete immensity of God’s promise, the stupendous nature of God’s presence;
b.      And the equally foolish, complete and total self-giving of Mary’s heart.
7.       Conclusion:
a.       The Lord is WITH us.
b.      And we are FOR the Lord.

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