BEST OF MAGNIFICAT

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A convert's take on culture, faith, annoying neighbors,
and the quest for meaning 
from her perch in L.A.

HOLY DAYS AND
GOSPEL REFLECTIONS:
HEATHER KING'S COLLECTED WRITINGS FROM MAGNIFICAT


A collection of essays on selected Gospel readings, intriguing women in the bible, and Feast Days: the Conversion of St. Paul, the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, the Visitation. These allegories, parables, and characters continue, like living water, to course madly through our daily lives!

Here's one of my favorites: The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


audio excerpt



book excerpt


NOWHERE TO LAY OUR HEADS

As [Jesus and his disciples] were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:57-60)

One of the great temptations for a follower of Christ is to come up with a formula. Publishers like authors to have a “platform.” We want to have a foothold from which we can dispense spiritual wisdom. We strive for bullet points and a brand.

I once watched a documentary on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran minister and prisoner of conscience during the Nazi regime. One scene was a clip of Hitler before a maniacally enthusiastic crowd, shaking his fist at God and saying, “We’re ready! We’re in control! We have a plan! Now bless it!” Later the camera panned to a photo of Bonhoeffer, taken at a family gathering during the time when he and several of his male relatives were plotting to assassinate Hitler. The contrast was striking. While Hitler’s face bore the bloodless, single-minded stare of the fanatic, Bonhoeffer’s was marked by uncertainty and conflict. That’s just it: as followers of Christ, we don’t get to have a foothold. We have nowhere to lay our heads.

To be a follower of Christ means being certain that we are to love each other as he loved us, and being very uncertain what that means in any given situation. It means being certain that the light will prevail, and then consenting to walk in almost complete darkness. It means being certain about Christ, and very, very uncertain about ourselves.

Bonhoeffer, like Christ, put his family in potential danger. Bonhoeffer was eventually caught by the Nazis and, like Christ, executed.

But first, he wrote a book called The Cost of Discipleship in which he spoke of the danger of “cheap grace.” "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."

That’s not a formula, that’s a call. And as Dietrich observed, “When Christ calls a man, he calls him to die.”