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04 November 2011

Why I've Been Quiet

My abstract for presentation on Friday:


“Do Not Extinguish the Spirit of Prayer and Devotion”
Receiving papal approval on 29 November 1223, the Later Rule of Francis of Assisi permitted the members of his order to find work, provided their labors did not “extinguish the spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all temporal things must contribute.” Later, Francis wrote to Anthony of Padua granting him permission to “teach sacred theology to the brothers” so long as he did not “extinguish the Spirit of prayer and devotion.” 

What did Francis consider to be the “Spirit of prayer and devotion”?  Why would he worry that involvement in theological reflection might extinguish this spirit of prayer? 

In contemporary times, we must ask what type of devotion is appropriate for a theologian engaging in speculative theology.  How can theological reflection deservire [contribute] to this spirit of prayer and devotion? 

The role of prayer in the vocation of a theologian figures into the nature of catechesis.  If we understand catechesis to be a never-ending process of participation in the mystery of the Christian faith, then we cannot escape the necessity of prayer.  Catechesis is not merely watered-down theology; rather it is an effort by which theology, pedagogy and mystagogy combine to achieve understanding.

My presentation suggests the vocation of the theologian is necessarily influenced by prayer.  This prayer serves to catechize the theologian as he or she vocationally grows. Most basically, I will argue that a constitutive part of theological reflection is the work of prayer.

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