With sadness I spent my last weekend on the Hill (the term we use for Saint Meinrad). I actually have two more classes, but one is independent study and the other is in Indianapolis, so this was my last weekend as a resident weekend student there.
I think what I will miss the most is our Student Liturgy. Ever since we began these I have played in the music ministry, and I have enjoyed that so much. Being a part of the music has really helped me to enter into the spirit of the liturgy in a way that I never could as a guest of the monks at monastic liturgy.
The other experience that I will miss is being able to hear my good friend Deacon John Simmons preach. He really has a gift for it. John is an anomaly in our lay student program, you see he is one of the few ordained members in our ranks. He is an ordained permanent Deacon of the Diocese of Louisville. I noticed the very first time I saw him preach that he has a mannerism while he is preaching that is very endearing; he plays with his wedding ring as he talks. I don't know if he realizes at the time that he is doing it, but it sends a very loud message even if he isn't intending it. This is a man who was called by God to two distinct vocations. That of the ordained Diaconate and Marriage.
I mentioned to him today that when I see him touching his ring when he preaches it connects the two vocations for me in a very powerful way. He reminded me that he was called to his vocation of marriage first, and then to the vocation of Deacon.
For a while now I have been privileged to be a part of a small group of people to whom John sends homilies occasionally via email when he feels compelled to write them even when he doesn't have to preach. Today he gave me permission to begin sharing them here on my blog. So from now on I will be including guest Homilies from Deacon John on occasion. You are all so lucky. I know you will find them as inspirational as I do.
I am just sorry that we can't podcast them, because to read them isn't nearly as amazing as to hear them preached. Maybe someday, you never know.