The Mystery of Easter – a special conversation with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. and Kris McGregor Podcast


During this podcast, Deacon Keating will offer his insights on the mystery of this Easter.

Here a few of his comments:

God always is faithful to himself. He is always choosing life. He is always choosing creating. He’s always choosing a way around the obstacles that we put up to him so that he can be faithful to himself. So the greatest obstacle obviously is death and sin. And he’s always found a way around those two to keep finding us. And that’s why hope is such a great theme on Easter Sunday because there’s no one who can stop God from being God.

All the conversion stories of the history of Christianity, 2000 years of God finding the lost sheep, God going around the obstacles that we have put up to his own nature of being a creator who gives. And that’s our great hope. Not us, right? It has never been us. Oh, you’re a good man. Oh, you’re a good woman. Oh, you can do this. No. I am a disaster. I’m a mess. I’m weak. I am vulnerable and I need to stay in a stance of vulnerability so that God can actually go around the obstacles I’ve been throwing at him for decades and find me. Reach out to my hand like he did to Adam in the afterlife and take me out of death and keep me in creation and keep me in the cycle of giving and receiving. That’s divinity, creating and the reciprocity of giving and receiving.

And he wants us to get into that with him. That’s why he’s always reaching out to us. Easter Sunday is the greatest celebration of that hope. God will always be God. We cannot make him other than what he is. And what he is, is someone who finds us no matter what obstacles we put up.

 

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.  

Check out the many series from Deacon James Keating Ph.D. by this Discerning Hearts podcast page

 

The Mystery of Good Friday – a special conversation with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. and Kris McGregor Podcast



During this podcast, Deacon Keating will offer his insights on the mystery of this Good Friday.

Here a few of his comments:

Deacon James Keating:

John is the one who gives us that famous line. It is finished. It is finished. What is finished? This creation, creation is finished. Everything after the crucifixion, the resurrection, everything after that is creation, a sort of groaning as Paul says, to catch up to what Jesus has already done, that perfect man, that perfection of God. And again, perfection is not as we understand it perhaps mathematically with no errors or faults, but scripturally, perfection is what Jesus said it was, be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. And then he contextualized that within the sense of welcoming your enemies, welcoming the other, welcoming those who are not you. And of course, that’s what Jesus was literally doing on the cross. He was welcoming those who were the enemy, who were not him, in other words, were against him, and this is what perfection is for the Christian.

On the cross, Jesus was the perfect man because he was the man who was forgiven, welcoming of the enemy, welcoming of the one who was literally killing him, and still not calling down his angels to destroy them, but actually welcoming the one who is killing into his own heart. As scripture says, “God has the sun shine on the good and the evil”, and that’s what Jesus was doing from the cross. He was saying, “You’re still welcome in me even as you’re killing me because I am love itself.”

And so as we meditate on Good Friday and on the crucifixion, we’re also meditating on our own dignity as Christians. We have, again, through the Holy Spirit, we have that spirit of perfection in us, the spirit of forgiveness, the spirit of welcoming those who are not ourselves. In other words, to no longer live as extensions of our egos, but to literally be hospitable to the other, even the other who would hurt us through the process of forgiveness.

Obviously, great mysteries here that the Holy Spirit must tutor us in real life. We can always think about them and write about them and speak about them, but when it comes to living them, we really need the incredible combustible power of the Holy Spirit moving our will to actually welcome the enemy and forgive those who are hurting us. But it’s all there on the Cross. The perfect man, the forgiven man, the man who is in perfect harmony with God, all of those things Jesus is trying to gift us with as well.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.  

Check out the many series from Deacon James Keating Ph.D. by this Discerning Hearts podcast page

 

The Mystery of Holy Thursday – a special conversation with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. and Kris McGregor Podcast


During this podcast, Deacon Keating will offer his insights on the mystery of this Holy Thursday.

Here a few of his comments:

Deacon James Keating:

So the fullness of Holy orders is there and we celebrate that because obviously without Holy orders, there’s no power of salvation that’s unleashed in the sacramental economy and we would just be void or it would be devoid of his presence and his power through the things of the earth. And that’s the beauty of the sacraments. We get both the presence and the power of Jesus through the things of the earth. That’s what makes the sacrament so accessible. The human body of the priest. Oil, water, wine, bread. So simple, so humble, so accessible. Again, the meditation of God’s great love for us that he is generously available through the things of the earth.

And that’s what makes our sacramental system so mindbogglingly joyful is that when we really are in a sacramental imagination as Catholics, our joy deepens because we realize, Oh my gosh, we are so loved. It’s not like he said, “You have to go up this mountain and find me. I’ll come to you as bread and I’ll come to you in oil and I’ll come to you. My power will come to you through the waving of a hand in a blessing. I will do all that for you and you just have to show up at the corner of Maple and 50th street. Your parish church and I’ll be there through these things of the earth.” It’s very, very humbling and powerfully beautiful to think about how close he wants to be with us and how accessible he is to us through the sacraments. And that’s why so many more people are mourning these days in the midst of the Coronavirus because even that is unattainable. The most ordinary accessible elements of the earth where Jesus wants to give us his power and his presence is unaccessible. Inaccessible these days because of the sorrow that we’re in.

Further in the conversation:

We always say, try to live in the present moment. But that’s a real grace to live in the present moment and to live in the present moment as grace is something we need to be asking for now. It may not be easily attained or easily appropriated, but we will miss something very vital if we’re not going deep and we’re just going towards fantasy to the future and daydream about when this will be over. And even emotionally anticipating it. Thinking that I’m happy now because I’m thinking this won’t last forever. And meanwhile, a lot of goods are present where you should be going deep into the relationships of the home. Even into the relationship somewhat of suffering. But not to utilize suffering, but to just realize that even in suffering there is a presence emerging from him because obviously he’s dwelling within us. And so we never utilize suffering, but within suffering itself, if we can pay attention to it, we may linger there long enough to allow his presence to come.

Whether it’s a suffering of the end of our daily routine, which we’re all suffering now, or the horrific suffering of sickness itself, which is so sacred that only the sick should really talk about it. But we have testimony from the saints that in the midst of sickness sometimes they sense his presence emerging as they pay attention to their own limit and finitude and weakness and he comes from within to minister to them. So the whole theme of are you living in the present moment is truly a contemplative gift that perhaps God is giving all of us now, and we don’t want to miss the hour of our visitation.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.  

Check out the many series from Deacon James Keating Ph.D. by this Discerning Hearts podcast page

 

The Mystery of This Present Moment – a special conversation with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. and Kris McGregor Podcast


During this podcast, Deacon Keating will offer his insights on “the mystery of this present moment.”

Here a few of his comments:

Deacon Keating:

So, the wisdom of the Saints comes back to us again and again. Of course, in good times we never listened to the saints because we got this. And in bad times, we’re suffering so much, that a lot of times they can’t get their wisdom through to us because of our pain. So, it’s quite paradoxical. But the wisdom of the Saints is this, that throughout our life, no matter what we’re experiencing in suffering or enjoying, we should always be sloughing off the excess of our days, any idols that we are drawing artificial consolation from. We should be seeking Holy communion, no matter whether we’re in good times or bad times.

So, when bad times come or when good times come, everything is calculated toward reality and peace because we have been suffering the coming of Holy communion throughout our entire life. So, when people don’t have this Holy communion during bad times like we’re in right now, we can panic and we can start grasping at straws, and thinking that everything is over and ending. Anxiety then becomes our normal state. So, again, the saints would counsel us when this horrible virus passes, if we could just remember not to go back to being normal Americans, but to go back to Him and get our equilibrium set, and the substance of our interior life set. So that when the next reminder that everything on this planet is not forever, when that next reminder comes, we’ll have less panic and more peace because we will have been living for a while then in Holy communion.

Further in the conversation:

The reason there’s so much fear is that we are acknowledging that death is real. Again, most of our popular culture is a mask keeping us from ever thinking about death. Now there are all these masks that have dropped, death comes to the fore and it’s not something we want to rebel in or say, “Let’s look at this and some type of McCobb way.” But we’ve known as believers, that death has always been the enemy. Now we see it. We see the enemy, we’ve been afraid of the enemy.

Again, we’ve been afraid of the enemy because our Holy communion isn’t stronger enough, with our Holy friend, Jesus Christ. The deeper that friendship grows with him, the more we can confront death in peace. Without panic, without fear. Of course, there’ll be sadness, it will be mourning. But the sadness in the mourning is over the good things of life, the panic and the fear is over that which we have created in ourselves. Which is a habitual stance of isolation from God. That’s what he’s gently trying to say to us. This death has always been here. Your limit and your finitude have always been part of your life. Stop masking it and let’s look at real life. It’s okay to look at it, with me. That’s why I came so that you would not be alone when you look at it, that’s what we call salvation.

You’re looking at it from the stance of communion with him. That’s how the Saints die in joy and in peace. So push against the fear and choose a career. That would be the theme of this imposed retreat, I would say.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.  

Check out the many series from Deacon James Keating Ph.D. by this Discerning Hearts podcast page

 

ROHC-DM-Special “Trust in His Mercy” with Deacon James Keating Ph.D.

“Trust in His Mercy” is a reflection offered by Deacon Keating at the celebration of Divine Mercy held at Christ the King Church, located in Omaha, Nebraska.

 

 Deacon James Keating, PhD, the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Ash Wednesday and Lent with Deacon James Keating

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Deacon James Keating and Kris McGregor discuss Ash Wednesday and our Lenten practice.

Deacon Keating is the Director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation at Creighton University.

Click here for more Deacon Keating

 

IP#288 The Heart of the Diaconate – Deacon James Keating on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction“The Heart of the Diaconate” is an another outstanding work by Deacon James Keating, PhD. It focuses on the interior life and how important the disposition of our interiority is to our vocational call.  While directed primarily to those in diaconate formation and those who have been ordained as deacons, the fundamental principles addressed in this book could be applied to all living the lay vocation.  Don’t miss!

Heart of the DiaconateYou can find the book here

From the book description:

Through the three areas of Calling, Formation and Ordination, and Ministry, The Heart of the Diaconate explores the creative tension of the diaconate vocation and what the diaconate for the future will look like. The book outlines what those who are considering the diaconate must possess if it is truly going to be an effective and vibrant ministry within the church. With a focus on availability to both prayer and ministry, the future of the diaconate must be both mystical and youthful and address one important question: Where has the gospel yet to reach in my diocese?

St. Lawrence, THE model for today’s deacon with Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts

Deacon James Keating, of the Institute for Priestly Formation, speaks about “The Role of Deacon” and St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence of Rome was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome who were martyred during the persecution of Valerian in 258.

His story is so touching (click here for a thorough telling). He models the charism of diakonia…genuine “ministry” of the gospel in the heart of the Church.  He witnessed to and lived out the command of Our Lord as found in Matthew 25.  Oh…to truly know modern day deacons in the order of Lawrence…

Often we see holy cards that depict Lawrence fully vested and holding what looks like a rack from a Weber kettle.  But his martyrdom was actually horrific and deserving of deeper reflection.  He could have avoided it, given the Roman official what he desired and spared his own life…but he didn’t.  The grace he received to bear witness lives for the centuries as a tremendous testimony of faith speaking out in truth and love…no matter what.  The image below is by Titian, and is the one I hold in my heart for St. Lawrence.

ROHC – sp7 What Intimacy with Jesus Really Means and Healing Our Fears with Deacon James Keating Resting on the Heart of Christ special – Discerning Hearts

Deacon Keating reflects on what intimacy with Jesus really means as realized in our experience of prayer and how that relationship can heal our fears.   The writings of St. Peter Eymard are used by Deacon Keating to explore these areas.

A Simple Blueprint for Prayer
“In your prayer, seek to nourish yourself on God, rather than…humbling yourself. To do this: nourish your mind with the truth personified in God’s goodness towards you…his personal love; here is the secret of true prayer. See the action and mind of God IN HIS LOVE FOR YOU! Then, in wonder, your soul will cry out… ‘How good you are my God. What can I do for you? What will please you?’ There is the fire of the furnace.”

A Funeral for a Friend – The Homily for Deacon Robert Jergovic by Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts

The celebration of the life of Deacon Robert Jergovic took place on a cool November Monday morning…the Church was packed, the tears flowed, and one of the best homilies that I’ve ever heard was given by his close friend Deacon James Keating.  Poignant, compelling, a heartbreakenly beautiful tribute to a life which shined with the presence of Christ.  “For whom shall I offer my suffering” was one of the last questions Deacon Rob asked his friend.  The first act of a dying man was to think of another…and then another astonishment occurred.  Don’t miss the rest of the story.
We pray for his wife, Lisa, and for his children…and we pray for Rob…who now prays for us at the throne of God.  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

see also Omar’s remarks “When a Good Man Passes”