Friday, March 21, 2014

Feast of Saint Benedict

Today we celebrate the transitus of our Holy Father, Saint Benedict. It would seem like a very straightforward historical feast, the passing away of the Father of Western Monasticism, the patron saint of Europe. It would seem like a very historically minded feast. It would seem.

But those of us who are more “in the know” know that it is not so. Discovering the historical remnant of this feast, indeed locating the physical relics of Saint Benedict is like a rather perverse game of “Where’s Waldo?” Is he at Monte Cassino or at Fleury? Is his arm, his hand here or there? And where is Walda? St. Scholastica? They are pressing questions, but ..

Perhaps that is not very important. Perhaps it is more important on this transitus feast to discover where Saint Benedict is right here, right now alive as he must be in this community, in this school of the Lord’s service, in the hearts and minds of his sons and daughters, laboring around the world under the guidance of his rule and in his honored memory. Where is Saint Benedict for us today?

And for that, perhaps we ought to turn to the Gospel.

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven. It is a passage with which I have been rather fascinated since I was a young child. First, I did not understand what the eye of a needle meant. Later I learned in Sunday School that in Biblical times, the eye of a needle referred to a small opening in the wall in Jerusalem. In some ways that helped my mental gymnastics and keep me from struggling to see how a camel could ever go through an actual needle, but then, I began to wonder how you might get a camel through a small hole in the wall. Would you pull it or push it? I have this image you see of a man pushing the back end of a camel and trying to get him through the little opening. And perhaps that is a good image of discipleship, laboring as poor camel drivers do under the continual threat of, well, you know what. Or pulling mightily on a stubborn object that no matter how hard we try, the thing just will not budge.

Discipleship is hard for us

It is hard for us if we are monks, struggling, praying to remain holy, remain stable, remain good, simply good in the face of many years of challenges and hardships, hardships usually bestowed on us by our confreres, let’s be honest even though the children are here. Sartre was right, absolutely right, hell is one another. But so is heaven. Monastic discipleship is hard.

But discipleship is also hard for us who are students, laboring as we do daily under the yoke of a completely irrational and demanding staff and faculty. Sometimes I am sure our students feel like those poor camels, or perhaps like those others in the Gospel who have to give up so much, fathers and mothers, lives and jobs to accept the hard yoke of formation under the stern taskmasters to whom they have been consigned.

Discipleship is hard

It is hard for us as oblates seeking desperately for some order in our lives, trying to follow a rule that was not necessarily meant for us, but one which is so powerfully attractive that we cannot help but be attracted by it. We strive in our prayers, strive to follow the rule, strive for perfection in a world that seems bent upon offering us no assistance whatsoever.

Discipleship is hard.

It is hard for us as Christian men and women, seeking to keep the reality of Jesus daily before our eyes when we are so lost, so confused by the thousands of conflicting signs that vie for our attention, seek our allegiances in a world in which the encroaching tentacles of secularism and secularity invade even the pristine halls of the cloister, the seminary inner sanctum or the domus ecclesia of oblation.

There can be no question that discipleship is hard. It is hard.

And yet, not impossible. God does not ask of us the impossible, even in following the Rule of Saint Benedict. Jesus does not ask the impossible of us in following the often allusive track of vocation. Jesus does not ask the impossible of us in our daily discipleship, our perpetual working out of salvation in the midst of the chaos of jobs and family life.

Today brothers and sisters we gather as members of communities, communities that more or less labor daily in the shadow of the spirit of Saint Benedict, as monks, as students, as oblates.

It is the spirit of Saint Benedict, non transitus, not going anywhere but enlightening and giving meaning to our way, his way.

We walk his way and what is that way?

I would say it is the way of small things, intimate gestures and signs that might get lost without the overshadowing of the trained and discerning eye. Small things, smiles and sighs that penetrate the silence of human isolation, for me that is Saint Benedict’s way

I would also say that it is the way of prayer, prayer that comes in listening, true listening to the Word of God, true listening to the groaning of the human condition which arrays itself around us.  True listening for those intimate words spoken to us in times of doubt and need, I love you. To me that is Saint Benedict’s way. And …

I would say it is the way of service, service in the minute, in the hopelessly mundane kerfuffle of everyday life. Service that hurts not so much because it is hard but because we must do it without fanfare and without hope of affirmation. Monks don’t give affirmation too readily, but then again, neither do teenage children and grandchildren. Service without fanfare, to me that is Saint Benedict’s way.And …

I would say it is the way of wisdom distilled from the daily, the way we eat, the way we sleep, the way we recreate as true followers of Christ. IT is devotion to life, not understood as the vague abstract of the vows or promises, but understood as something that is intimate and profound.

Something of that is revealed for us in the reading today from the Acts of the Apostles.

How do we move to that fellowship of believers spoken of so eloquently in the Acts of the Apostles

They devoted themselves to teaching

Are we committed in our place in life to continually listen for the syllables of the Word of God pressing upon us or are we only interested in studying the tomes of our own ideas, our unique personalities?

They devoted themselves to fellowship

Are we committed to finding fraternity with one another or are we just interested in how all of this involves me?

They devoted themselves to prayer

Are we immersed in the life of God through our participation in the Opus Dei or are we just critical of the prayer, the singing, the recitation, the reading, the presiding?

They devoted themselves to the breaking of the bread together in one place.

All of them were together in one place, as are we. Together in one place under the watchful eye of Saint Benedict, the patriarch, the legislator.

Wherever his bones may be, or wherever our bones may be.

Let’s see checklist ...

Gospel

Epistle

We might as well throw in Proverbs

For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
and preserving the way of his saints

Please God, may the way of St. Benedict and all the saints be our way, our only way today and every day.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Priesthood Promises

More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?

Perhaps this evening it would be appropriate to speak about the theoretical qualities of the priesthood, and in particular how these qualities relate to the ideals presented in the promises to be professed by our deacon brothers tonight, promises that will take them into the very heart of this mystery that is the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

We could speak lofty words tonight about the oath of fidelity. Keeping a promise for life is a rare commodity in our world today. Every day we witness, many of us first-hand, the ephemeral nature of families, marriages, communities and religious vocations. We see the struggles our brothers and sisters around us make in keeping commitments. We all know something of both the statistics and the real human toll those statistics take. Trusting an authority is equally precarious. We have a great suspicion of institutions, a suspicion that sometimes confounds our ability to be faithful.

We could offer high sounding phrases about the profession of faith, but we know the value of our creed, we know the blood that stains each word of this holy testament, we know how its syllables connect us to all of those men and women, those saints of God who have professed it while endless ages have rolled. We know how these prophetic words have struck and stung the scorpions of human pride. We know how their utterance has confounded heresy and the tyranny of human ambitions. We know how they draw us back to the waters of our baptism, where we rejected one world and promised to live for another, a kingdom of this world, and a kingdom of the world to come.

In this context we need not worry about this one’s that and that one’s the other.

We could go on and on being eloquent, but let’s not. Neither these men nor we need to be reminded of the serious nature of the obligations they are voicing tonight or the kind of promises they are soon to profess again.

Rather let us ask ourselves another question: Who are these men?

They are young and not so young. They are brown, extremely white and all points in between.

They are easy to understand and not so easy to understand, at least verbally.

Some are shy and some are quite loud. Some are bright and others are kind. Some are large and some small. Some are men of the minute and some have photographic memories.

Some are homebodies and some will sleep anywhere they happen to fall down.

Some are well-organized and some are something else.

Like Lazarus, they are all poor men, covered with sores standing with us tonight at the door of the Church. They long for something, they long to make something of their lives, they long to count, they long to be of use. They are dying for service and that is what they promise tonight.

And what of these promises they make? We can hope, we can pray that in the years to come, through all of the trials they will face that these promises will stand. We can hope, we can pray that the promises professed tonight in the light of this place, this altar, sworn upon this book of the Gospels will stand forever, pristine and pure.  We can hope that these men, so varied will live perfect lives, sinless lives, lives fully in accord with the promises they profess. We can hope they will.

But they will not. They will break these promises they are proud to profess, or at least they will crack them. Brothers, there are hard days coming, days of trial pastoral and personal that will make you look back on the hardships of your seminary years with the fondness of children on a playground. Your promises will be broken in negligence, in anxiety, in fatigue, in fear, in vulnerability. Like the rich man who was given so much, you will, at least in some way, squander what you have been given.

More tortuous than all else is the human heart,
beyond remedy; who can understand it?

That is the mystery of life, one faced in every meaningful pastoral encounter you will have, and, if you are true, one you will face daily in yourself.

Your promises will not stand and you will fall, but thanks be to God the one on whom we rely, the one for whom we offer ourselves, the one whom we love will stand. Christ Jesus will stand and he will hold us up. He will support our arrogance and pride, he will support us in our weakness.

I know you brothers. I know all of your talents and your weaknesses. I know those prejudices and bigotries you try so desperately to hide.

I know the struggles you undergo when you want to be so well put-together.

I know the immaturities you express when you so desperately desire to appear like big boys

I know your quibbling and your compromising.

I’ve heard your boasting but I’ve also seen your tears, one drop of tears that is more precious than all of the boasting put together.

I know you and we know you. We see your strength and your trials each day. They are all of our strengths and trials, we who live with and through one another.

And if I know you and we know you, how much more does the God who created you know you?

In that knowledge, in full knowledge we are asking you, God is asking you for only one thing: Love.

He is asking for a promise of love, that is the core of all of these fancy words you are about to spill forth. That is the meaning of all that you will do, even in your fallen state in the years to come, right to the door, the precipice of death.

Ask to be faithful in the midst of trial. Ask to be free from the bondage to sin. Ask that your profession, your everyday profession might be true and simple and sincere

Ask that of God and you will find in a world of doubt and confusion what is really important. You will find the love of all because you want to love. Love in the name of Jesus, love in the name of His holy Church. Love in the name of the misunderstood Christ. Love in the eyes of the old and the dying seized with mortal anguish at the threshold of the awesomeness of eternity, love in the sparkle of the new parent, love in the forceful embrace of little ones, in the handholding of the housebound, the trembling grasp of the grieving. Love without compromise and without cost. Love the unlovable, the stranger, the unbeliever, the prisoner, the street-person, the defiant one. Love the lukewarm and the mediocre. Dare to love in the face of the world’s gross indifference. Dare to love when all skill for love has been eroded. Be prophets of love, priests of love.  Love with all your hearts and you will never be lonely, never lacking in friends. His love, as you give it away, will be sufficient for you. Love with the conviction that God alone will turn our sorrows and our sense of being outcast into gladness, into the fullness of joy, so ask Him.

You cannot keep the promises you make, but he can keep you in those promises. He will raise you up.

I am thinking now of Lazarus. That is us. And the rich man, that is us.

I am thinking about the psalm

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers

Please God, let that be true for us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Feast of St. Joseph

It is a great joy, an honor to be with you this evening here in this beautiful place to celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. I have a fondness for West Virginia that goes back to my growing up years in Maryland, and weekend trips into your wild and wooly state. I could go on waxing, perhaps not too elegantly about your countryside but alas the task at hand calls us onward.

St. Joseph

Every summer I take a rather extended trip to Antigua Guatemala. We have seminarians there who study Spanish in an immersion program that has been quite successful over the years. Last year, during my visit, I ran across an image in a church. It was Saint Joseph, but not as we are used to seeing him. He was a young man, clean shaven, very vibrant looking and he is holding to his cheek, in an extreme close-up, a very fat baby Jesus. It was not what we are used to seeing but there was such a truth, such an intimacy in it that I was deeply moved. Today, here, we gather in this liturgy to remember Joseph. And we do well to contemplate the situation of St. Joseph. Of course, when we examine the evidence of the Gospel we find next to nothing by way of background about St. Joseph. But what do we really know about him? What do we really understand?

We must conjecture that he was a man of his time, nothing more, nothing less. He was a man with certain ideas and dreams about not only the life of faith, but about his personal life as well. His intellectual world was circumscribed by his cultural situation and yet, when offered in a dream, through the invitation of the angel a daring, unprecedented opportunity, Joseph, the conventional man did not hesitate to accept it.

The angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. Do not hesitate, he said. And in St. Matthew’s Gospel that is, quite significantly the first message of the Gospel. Do not hesitate. And what an invitation that is, not only to Joseph, now so long ago, but to us as well. Do not hesitate. Yet we do, don’t we? Hesitate, I mean. We are reluctant to give ourselves fully, not only to our faith, that highly circumcscrbed and marginalized aspect of ourselves, but to anything. We fear something. We fear getting lost, we fear drowning in the quagmire of whatever it is that might engulf us, family, neighbors, church. And yet we are told as the first message of the Good News, do not hesitate, do not fear. This is the resolve of conversion

In that audacious invitation that stands at the head of Matthew’s Gospel, St. Joseph was able to find within himself the resolve of conversion. He was able to overthrow his pre-cenceived expectations. It seems to me that is the project for us not only as we remember him, but every day, to see in St. Joseph’s ready assent to that wild and wooly invitation of God a model for how we, in our skeptical environment can learn to trust, in our hearts and in our minds.

Because this is the truth brothers and sisters, God wants to work with us. He wants to draw us more closely to himself. He wants us to thrive in our faith. Certainly St. Joseph, certainly Our Lady teach us that. The very models of faith knew God and they knew Him at the level that incorporates but transcends the mind. They knew Our Lord at the level of the spirit, at the level of the body, in a most intimate way.

That is our way as well. But we must be clear, as it was for Joseph, our assent to God’s invitations has its consequences. There are truths about ourselves that must be faced. There is a discipleship to be led. There is a reality to be lived, a reality we might term, the sanctification of daily life, a sanctification which each person must acquire according to his or her own state, and one which can be promoted according to a model accessible to all people: "St. Joseph is the model of those humble ones that Christianity raises up to great destinies;. . . he is the proof that in order to be a good and genuine follower of Christ, there is no need of great things--it is enough to have the common, simple and human virtues, but they need to be true and authentic."

God had plans for Joseph because he knew him. And he knows us. God knows us

How does God know us?

He knew us before we were born. Before our first gasping, our first mewing, his designing finger traced providence in the sand of our souls. He saw the grasping babe and pronounced it very good. He schemed. He planned. He envisioned.

He knew us in our toddling years. We struggled to stand as if we could ever stand on our own. He placed his omnipotent hand in the small of our infant backs. He looked with the Father’s love on us, a big brother’s pride. He prodded, pushed, he plied. He let go and fretted. He watched us walk, run, walk away, run away. We guarded our childhood games as we dressed up in the rags of independence. We tried to hide, and he pretended to seek, but only pretended, because he knew us.

He knew us as we learned to sin, experimented with the little league vices of bullying, petty theft, the lie, and then, more. Accusation, ridicule, derisive laughter, the easy target, then we’re the target. We learned to inflict pain in the most painful places, twisting the blade of self-image in to the hilt.

He knew us in our confusion as we struggled with relationships, with vocation, family.

He knows us in our doubt in those moments of shear panic when we can hardly remember where we have been, hardly recognize ourselves in the mirror, and believe without utterance that God is dead.

He knows us in our selfishness, our grasping, our groping through the treasure troves of self-promotion, gripping tightly to the handles of a golden cup called ego.

He knows us in our compulsiveness, our complacentness, our neediness, our laziness, our restlessness. our carelessness.

That was the knowing God that approached Joseph through the angel.

Saint Joseph is a man whose aspirations and dreams were turned completely to the love of God and his nascent Church. In that he offers us a path to follow, a way of achieving our goal of being completely at the disposal of God’s designs, God’s wishes.

I am thinking back to my Guatemalan image of St. Joseph.

What does this image show us?

The love of Joseph was an unquestioning love, a love that could only have come from a complete embrace of the grace of God.

The love of Joseph was so profound and intimate it offered to the child Jesus the basic needs of bodily and spiritual care.

The love of Joseph was a self-less love, a love that put the needs of the body of Christ before his own needs and in that as well he offers us an important example.

We see that love of Joseph in this image powerful and intimate as it is.

Joseph is strong

Joseph is tender

Joseph is nurturing

 The infant is accepting

The infant is in need

The infant depends upon the foster father.

The infant is Christ and Christ is the Church and we are Joseph

Brothers and sisters, if we can accomplish these realities, if we can make these principles living practices rather than dead precepts, then this Year of Faith will be a time of renewal for all of us, for our parishes, our dioceses, our religious communities, and for this seminary and school of theology. What do we expect this year? We expect to change. We anticipate growth in life and the spirit. We look forward, always forward with new vigor, new energy, new vitality, new friendship, new love. We plan for it and God gives the growth. He truly gives the growth.

We cannot accomplish these lofty goals alone. We do not need to. We have each other. We have our families and those who love and support us. We have our communities of faith and our dioceses. We have the saints, in particular, St. Joseph. What I find most interesting about St. Joseph is that in the entire course of the Gospel accounts, in our complete understanding of him, he never speaks a word.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Weekly Reader - March 10

I have been reading a lot of pastiche literature lately. It is a new genre that I have named. It is literature that pretends to be something else, from another time, another voice. I re-read, hopefully with some new eyes, the novel of John Boyne, the author whose book we are commonly reading for Lent. His earlier book is called, This House is Haunted. It is the story of a Victorian lady who gets caught up in a mystery after attending a public reading of a ghost story by Charles Dickens. It is a good book which is an example of pastiche literature. It is written like a Dickens’ short story, a ghost story. It has the conventions, and what might be termed the psychological shortcomings of earlier Victorian literature. Boyne remains true to form, he doesn’t try to mimic James, whose ghosts were much more psychological and psychotic than Dickens could have ever conceived. The other book I have just finished is called Longbourn. It is the exact story of Pride and Prejudice, told from the point of view of the Bennet house servants. It is excellent and very well-imagined. The book reminded me, in terms of method, of the Amor Towles novel, Rules of Civility, which pastiches 1920’s literature. All of this pastiche led me to watch a couple of BBC series from the past. I started Upstairs, Downstairs, the 1970’s version with Jean Marsh, but I quickly put it aside when I was reminded of another series that I actually watched when I was 13 years old, The Duchess of Duke Street, the fictionalized story of a cockney woman who became a famous chef and then opened a hotel in London. Her name was Rosa Lewis but in the show she is called Louisa Trotter. I vaguely remember watching the show in the 1970’s and I probably could not have told you the details of a single episode, but as I watched it again on DVD it is interesting how much my early life was influenced by that show. My love for England, London in particular, my ideals about taste, my “Edwardian” sensibility, and even my no-nonsense approach to formation were realized somehow in that show which I re-watched with the fascination of seeing old home movies. For me the whole thing seemed an exercise in understanding Newman’s illative sense, the idea that things profoundly influence us and indeed create our characters even when we have forgotten the thing itself. Anyway, I loved the The Duchess of Duke Street as a kind of autobiography of taste. Other things on last week’s agenda: The other pastiche novel I was looking at was Fludd, by Hillary Mantel, the wonderful author of the reformation novels. This one is set in the 1950’s and I had loaned it out, received it back and read it again with new eyes. New eyes seems to be a theme. It is an amazing novel and one I would continue to revisit. It deals with an Anglican clergyman named Fludd who shows up in a little village and of course turns everything upside down. The novel is a bit of fantasy written in pastiche language. This delving into pastiche literature has proved fascinating, and really entertaining. Perhaps I should have given it up for Lent, but I did not.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday homily

Here we are again.

A little late perhaps, but here nevertheless.

The beads are strewn; the hurricanes have made their clamorous way across our brain cells, or rather yours. The King Cake is consumed. I hope the baby came out unscathed.

It takes true southerners to pull off this kind of revelry. Thanks again to Mobile.

Now, in the way of excess, it is time for us to undertake that most ancient of art forms, self-denial.

Now is the time for us to spend 40 days contemplating our weaknesses, particularly our weaknesses of the flesh, which will manifest themselves in our complete inability to fulfill what we have promised for Lent.

We won’t fast well.

Our almsgiving will be grudging.

Our prayer, sporadic and distracted by our fasting and almsgiving.

Lent is going to be a disaster, but lest you think this is a Charlie Brown homily, let me make a point. It’s alright.

It’s alright if I try and fail.

It’s alright if my resolve is weak.

It’s quite alright if I show myself to be a quite negligent disciple.

It’s alright because, we know in the long run, discipleship doesn’t depend on me.

Where is Lent leading us?

What do we want to BE on the other side of Lent?

What destination are we aiming for in this annual pilgrimage of discipleship?

How might this Lent be truly a time of difference?

What if we could give alms and feel the pinch a little rather than scraping the bottom of the barrel of life for loose change to fling in the general direction of the unspecified poor.

What if we gave the alms of concern and time to help a brother in need, or attend to his pain?
Then we might gain alms for ourselves, the alms of a life lived in sacrificial service, the alms of charity, the alms of fulfilled love.

What if we could pray without constantly worrying about getting things done? What if we could learn to adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament without continual recourse to our schedules? What if we gave God the time he really deserves? What if the chambers of our hearts could be opened and the doors of our mouths could be closed? What if we talked more to our neighbors about the joy of prayer and less about the misery of seminary life?

Then we might find ourselves gaining softness in those open hearts. Then we might find ourselves able to nakedly reveal our struggles and pains. Then we might learn to love with an unfeigned love.

What if we could fast without flash, deny ourselves a little, purify ourselves a little, learn to control our desires a little more? What if we fasted from something meaningful, and by our fasting created new habits and eradicated that which is useless from our lives? What if we gave up whatever we gave up for Lent, for life?

Then we might find the purity of mind to discover what Lent truly is: a season of opportunity, a season of promise, a season of pure joy for the grace that God has given us to really look at ourselves.

Lent is upon us again. The revelries of last night have been washed into the ditch of memory.

And today we stand upon the precipice of a new opportunity, the opportunity to become Christians.

Now you are saying: But we are Christians; we are, in fact, super-Christians. We are religious, priests, seminarians, devoted lay theologians, staff who works for less than we ought to.

Indeed you are, but God is still holding out a hand to you today, a hand to me.

God is holding out a hand to us, not our own hand of self-congratulations, but the hand of honesty.

Let’s be honest.

Today, I could stand before you and berate you. God knows I know how; I lived in that world for most of my childhood.

Today, as we stand here on the Cliffside of another Lent, I could hurt your feelings. I could remind you of what a sinner you are. I could tell you stories about yourself that you know are true, but that you would hate for anyone else to know.

I could tell you these stories not because of a particular knowledge I have, but because I know how people are.

We are hypocrites. We are liars, mostly to ourselves. We are harsh and judgmental. We are so hard, hardened by sin, calcified by life.

Why would I do that? Let’s be honest and say this:

God loves us. He loves us with such a passion that He laughs at our foibles, our cheating, our insincerity.

God loves us. He feeds us in our fasting, our almsgiving, our prayer even in the weakness of those same things.

God loves us, all of us. He loves our little quirks and our particular designs. He loves us when we say and write stupid things. He loves us in our panic and in our pantomimes of faith.

God loves us. Isn’t that a revelation?

Lent is a time to stand back. It is a time to pull away the various disguises we have imposed on our discipleship. It is time to look reality squarely in the eye and see in that eye, the tear-filled eyes of a loving Father.

Brothers and sisters, can we do it? The tolling bells of doom ring out on this first day of Lent, but they don’t have to call us to their mournful prayers.

We hear another voice, the clarion voice of the Savior crying out and clamoring.

Come to me you who are burdened.

Bring yourselves to me.

Lead others to me.

In our fasting, He feeds us not with earthbound good, but with His body and blood.

And what if we could give back generosity as fasting?

In our almsgiving, He offers us infinitely more than we can ever offer Him.

What if we could give intimacy as alms?

In our prayer He speaks to us, if we will let Him.

He whispers words in our ear.

I love you. I call you. I understand you. I will be, I promise, be everything for you.

And what if we could listen, truly listen, as our expected form of prayer this Lent and ever after?

God, O my, God, dot, dot, dot.

Now let me cite a little example of this. Don’t be shocked, but the other day I was perusing country music videos on the Youtube.

Don’t be shocked.

There was a video of Kenny Chesney. You may not know Kenny; it doesn’t matter.

He was giving a concert in Indianapolis and he was singing a very nice song. In the middle of the song, Kenny lost it. He started crying, not, I take it, what country music men are known for.

The point is he couldn’t sing, so the audience sang for him. They knew his song. They sang for him. When we are weak, that is what God does for us.

We are weak in Lent.

O my, we are weak every day.