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{{vm.product.SpProduct.Article}} Preaching as Paying Attention
Theological Reflection in the Pulpit

Edward Foley, Capuchin

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Author Ed Foley―priest, preacher, and teacher―invites preachers to an awareness of the world and the people around them as a lens for preaching God's Incarnate Word and inviting people into the Paschal Mystery. He maintains that paying attention is a key to theological reflection.

When pondering a work of art or a catastrophe, the preacher asks, “Where is God in all of this?” and “How does my preaching invite people to respond to that presence?” Fr. Foley presents excerpts of his own homilies and references to poets, scientists, and other resources―some a bit surprising―as models and suggestions that might draw a preacher’s attention as a sign of God present and active in our midst. In short, this book offers a mindset, not a method, for preachers.

The practice of theological reflection—so widely embraced in pastoral and spiritual formation—has rarely been talked about in homiletic preparation, but no more. Foley’s work facilitates a needed connection between disciplines that promises to bear much fruit.
—Ann M. Garrido | Associate Professor of Homiletics, Aquinas Institute of Theology

In this wise book, Foley inspires preachers to witness to Christ in our midst and God at work in the chaos of life by turning their attention not away from but beyond lectionary, liturgy, and Church to sacredly notice God present in the great and small moments of life. Foley demonstrates how God, present in art, film, poetry, and science, enlivens sermon preparation and renders the Gospel more relevant so the assembly expects to encounter the divine in everyday life. Yet the true gift of this book is a scholar and teacher who never ceased to be preacher and priest, welcoming us into a ministry and process he obviously loves.
—Craig Alan Satterlee | Bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America | Former teacher of preaching at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and the University of Notre Dame

This book is a gift from Ed Foley to preachers and to those who attend to their words. In six formative chapters, this book calls out for an attentive presence to word and community. Paying attention becomes the cornerstone for creative preaching, inviting renewal and justice in worshipping communities.
—Reverend Richard N. Fragomeni | Professor of Liturgy and Preaching, Catholic Theological Union

Many a preacher longs for a “how to” manual, wanting to become one of those spellbinding ministers who can break open the Word in ways that lead hearers into beauty, awe, holy mystery―into the very heart of God―while connecting the dots of graced encounter of peoples’ daily realities. Ed Foley is such a preacher. Every minister of the Word will want to learn from his wisdom gleaned through a lifetime of attending and reflecting, gathered into this gem of a book.
—Barbara E. Reid, O.P., President and Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P., Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies | Catholic Theological Union

As a permanent deacon, I preach “from time to time,” as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. n. 94, indicates. Because of this infrequency, we deacons often do not have the opportunity to develop into imaginative, challenging homilists. This book presents the deacon and all preachers with the invaluable tool of paying attention—to science, to storytelling, to the arts, and to the people of God—to craft credible and fresh interpretations of the in-breaking of God’s reign for Christian living. May we all pay attention to Ed Foley’s book for the sake of the baptized and the whole world in the hope that our homilizing will in truth be good news.
—Deacon Victor Puscas | Director of Formation | Office of the Diaconate, Diocese of Joliet