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I developed into an “Irish-Existentialist” in my late 20’s responding to loss, disappointment, and disillusionment – the glass was always half empty.  Divine irony? Bad karma? “Stuff happens?”  Maybe all three, but whatever the case, I entered my 30’s an ordained Jesuit priest in turmoil.  I felt like I was walking through a very dark basement and could find my way by taking small steps.  Painful, yes. At the same time, I found that the music I wrote and the homilies I preached had a new depth. I felt surprised and grateful.

Some years later, after about 25 years of serving as a church musician, I realized I was completely bored. This led to further exploration of my own life as well as study of liturgical theology with particular questions: “Is it possible that the ideals I read about could connect with my ongoing experience of exile?” “Is it remotely possible that suffering actually might mean something for a follower of Christ – other than pious platitudes or cynical dismissal?”

 

SLJ concert Seattle 07

[Me, not bored]

 

My seeking and finding and losing and rediscovering over the past thirty years or more led me write a book (“In the Midst of Our Storms”). It is not autobiographical.  Instead, I attempted to connect lived experience, mainly the kind most of us want to avoid (i.e., suffering), with liturgical theology.

IMOS

Since the aim of my project is to foster the “real presence” of worshipers to the Real Presence of Christ at Mass, I study biblical texts and liturgical gestures to uncover ways they can draw us into our depths.

Here’s an overview of my project:

1. Life, like the full worship experience, engages both the left and right parts of the brain – understanding & feeling.

2. Liturgical theory and practice can cultivate encounters for worshipers with what is deepest, between Life and Death matters. At this crossroads, it is right for profound resistance to surface, revealing our strategies for self-protection.  Amazingly enough, we are more present to God in Christ when we resist!

3. Liturgy elicits resistance in the presence of Christ for the sake of our healing.  Such a liturgical spirituality for adults (and those on the way to becoming adults) offers an alternative path to the “good little boy or good little girl” kind of discipleship which many of us were brought up with.

Welcome! –roc,sj

 

 

You’ll find my educational background here, if so inclined.

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http://about.me/rocsj

4 Comments

  1. amanpan says:

    Beautifully written.

    Like

  2. It is amazing that I get a sense of a similar journey, each one motivated by own circumstances, professional, etc: yours through religious music, I, through compared literature and myth. Maybe it’s too little for me to grasp, but I came to the same concept of “balance of the left and right brain”, going through the storm – embracing life’s challenges only to get to descend in the depth, see oneself from the inside…
    But, maybe it’s true what they (used to) say, that all roads would finally take you to Rome…

    Like

    • Thanks for your connection. Mirella, is it? Maybe it’s the time of life or of age or something, but it seems many are on such a journey. Lots of starting points. Lots of paths. It’s good to connect with another one on the way… to Rome, perhaps. Into the Heart of Hearts, I hope. Blessings to you today! –roc,sj
      I’ll check out your site, too!

      Like

  3. Elihu says:

    I think many Christians—thought they are loath to admit it—experience stagnancy in their walk with the Lord. The manna and quail, they taste the same day in and day out. The desert stretches on unendingly. We have to keep walking, following our Lord, even when it feels like we are simple plodding along and getting nowhere. If we continue to press on, and we especially press on to know the Lord, at some point we will no longer be “bored” we will be ignited with excitement and passion. We’ll find an unending stream of living water.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences so we can grow in Christ.

    God be with you.

    Like

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