Our readings for Sunday are here.
Fr Dennis Dillon, SJ might have had this Sunday off (all Cycle C years!! — 2013, 2016, 2019). Oftentimes, having “held the fort” while his Jesuit brothers directly ministering to the students took their breaks during the summer, Fr Dennis then headed out for his time away as the school year settled in. But we have a cameo from Fr Terry Dumas, diocesan priest and former assistant pastor, well-known and beloved, at Saint Mary Student Parish.
I spent some time imagining a poem that D2 might have selected for September 1, 2013.
In 2013, Fr Terry Dumas shared–
- He entered seminary later in life — a long, amazing story and call to his vocation — and was feeling the odd guy out because of his experiences.
- He prayed with God, sharing how he was “sick of being different.” In their prayer-conversation, God replied, “Too bad. You are!” 🙂 But that truth and acceptance of it was freeing to him.
- Fr Terry became more active in helping his fellow seminarians get out in service a bit; it was not a common practice at the time apparently. He also went out and helped teach English in prison, later having his fellow seminarians join him.
- So, in being himself and serving others, he found himself and himself deeper in relationship with Christ.
Earlier in the year or perhaps the year prior, Fr Dennis had shared a poem at Easter — a bit different but one encompassing what he understood how suffering and the resurrection in relationship might appear at the personal scale (since Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection is/was personal, universal, and cosmic). The poem describes the willingness to be “wrong” and offer up one’s self bound in being “right” for the love of the other, as well as God’s call of Love. We face the challenge of taking the universal and complete offering of Jesus’ self and finding this personal expression in the moments of our own lives.
So … this poem, Listening by David Ignatow, was one that struck me at the time as consistent with the gospel and possible re-use by Fr Dennis, so I chose it for my notes. The change of perspective isn’t about capitulating in deceit or avoidance, it is conversion — for the greater glory of God.
For those of us who pastor with or been pastored by Fr Dennis: Kind listening … and a fun sense of humor come to the fore, over and over again.