Monday, February 18, 2008

"How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news"

This morning, while doing my morning blog-check, which is kind of like calling friends, I learned from my friend Rocco, over on Whispers, that a man who taught me a lot about preaching, though I never met him, Fr. Walter Burghardt, SJ, died yesterday at age 95.

I am re-posting something from Whispers, written by Fr. Burghardt himself:

"Love God above all else. Love every human being -- friend or enemy -- like another self as a child of God, especially those who are on the lower edge of society. Touch the earth, God's material creation -- nuclear energy or a blade of grass -- with respect. With reverence as a gift of God."

I remember just prior to ordination we were asked what we wanted our preaching to communicate and, under the influence of Burghardt and others, I wrote "The passionate love of God for each one of us." I do not know how well I succeed, but I know, at least for me, Fr. Burghardt's homilies, which I have only ever read, succeeded. May he be gathered into that love which is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that love he dedicated his life not only to telling people about, but teaching others to communicate effectively.

The life and ministry of Fr. Burghardt are summed up well by St. Paul:

"For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring (the) good news!'" (Rom. 10,13-15). Walter Burghardt's feet must have been gorgeous!

Again, with due acknowledgement to Rocco, here is a tribute to Fr. Burghardt by someone who knew him. It is a post entitled Eternal Light Be His, Lord.

1 comment:

  1. I last saw Walter in Dallas when he gave a triduum at First Presbyterian downtown. He was a grammar school classmate of my wife's parents on Manhattan's East Side and a friend of the family ever since. He will be missed. - John Molanphy, Santa Fe, NM


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