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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

What would Jesus do ...

at a wedding?

Reading a paper on poet GM Hopkins by Philip Endean SJ ... How Should Hopkins Critics Use Ignatian Texts? I came to a part where Fr. Endean writes of the transforming immediacy that imaginative contemplation of gospel stories can have (as opposed to the analyzing of those same stories) ....

To illustrate what I mean, let me take an example. A Martzian ‘poem of meditation’ on the marriage feast at Cana would probably turn on some rather conventional Marian piety, or else on how Jesus’s arrival in the world transforms our watery situation, invigorating us with the heady new wine of the Kingdom. Something notably different happened, however, when an experienced retreat giver asked a rather driven and earnest young man to contemplate this scene during a retreat:

(The man in question) had a vivid imagination and had seen tables heaped with food set out beneath a blue sky. The guests were dancing, and it was a scene of great merriment. ‘Did you see Christ?’ I asked. ‘Yes’, he said, ‘Christ was sitting upright on a straight-backed chair, clothed in a white robe, a staff in his hand, a crown of thorns on his head, looking disapproving‘ “

Ignatian prayer aims at fostering an interaction between the gospel and a person’s life-situation — an interaction going beyond general statements, whether profound or platitudinous. Through this experience, and through subsequent reflection on it, the young man in question was helped to see that his fundamental operative understanding of God had been sub-Christian. Moreover, he was empowered to change, to grow towards something more authentic ...

Reading about the wedding at Cana and the disapproving Jesus of the above contemplation, I was reminded of the movie Jesus ... there's a scene of the wedding at Cana and the Jesus of the movie doesn't sit in a chair, glowering at the revelers: instead he dances the night away, and it's his disciples who are disapproving :) Start watching the clip below at about 2 minutes in ....


Blogger Dina said...

How did I miss this movie?! I like the segment you offer.
I quite like a dancing Jesus figure.

Well, it came out in 1999; those were the years I was tending sheep as a poor volunteer at Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. My preacher friend there worked for the ideal of some day having the ideal of "a people prepared." He tried to educate his congregation and us HPI volunteers not so much in the fad of WWJD, but first in "What DID Jesus do," i.e. learning the scriptures and history.

2:28 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Dina,

You've lead the most interesting life! I've never been to Arkansas or anywhere in the south.

I do like the movie - I see now that the whole thing is now on YouTube too.

I'm not a big fan of WWJD either but it seemed to fit the post :)

2:40 AM  
Blogger Dina said...

Crystal, got some free time? You too could have the great experience of working as a residential volunteer at Heifer Ranch. See

The organization used to be called Heifer Project International. Do you know about it?

But getting back to your post, I think it shows that more of us should do bibliodrama. Who knows what kind of images people harbor about biblical figures.

4:13 AM  
Blogger crystal said...


I had heard of the concept of what the organization does - giving livestock to needy people in other countries - but I couldn't remember the name. I went to the link, and it sounds really interesting and practical too. It's definitely worthy of donations but I think if I was a volunteer, I'd want to take all the animals home as my pets :) I'm ashamed to say I haven't been much of a volunteer, especially since my vsion got worse, but mostly because of a combination of shyness and selfishness :(

Yes, the images people have of God are so diverse and many of us don't realize, I think, what those images really are or where they came from, or how they're affecting our prayer life.

2:07 PM  

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