I was reading an interesting book last night. It was a book that had turned yellow with age. I had even forgotten that I owned such a book. Today I gave that book away to a friend so that my friend could also benefit from the thoughts shared so clearly and wonderfully by one of my favourite writers, Henri Nouwen. The title of that book is ‘Creative Ministry’
What did I learn? Perhaps I can say that as I read the book quickly, there were several things that struck me. But there was one word in particular and I have used it for the title of this post. The word is ‘Dialogue’.
So often I hear people making comments about what they have or have not heard in the homilies that are preached to them, be it on a weekday or during the Sunday masses. I noted with amusement, though this seemed most inappropriate, how Henri Nouwen had helped a priest to prepare a homily. They had laboured over it. Finally on the day of the preaching, Henri approached a seventeen year old boy and asked him what had grabbed his attention. The adolescent very calmly admitted that for him the time of the homily was a short break for forty winks. Henri then went to a much older man and asked for some feedback. Again, the comments given were far from satisfactory.
What is the key to reaching out to people? It is really the ability to make a connection. There has to be a dialogue of sorts. I recall at this point in a literature lesson how my teacher, the late Arthur Yap, had given us the two words from a novel “Only Connect”. Was it Virginia Woolf? I can hardly remember now, but at that time I did think that the words were very interesting. They are truly not only captivating but crucial. Without the connection, one’s message goes unheeded. That is why we look to our Lord Jesus, the Master Teacher, the One who teaches with authority. Jesus connects with everyone on the level of the heart as well. Let us pray for the grace to do the same.