The following description is a synopsis of my forthcoming work, whatever you want to call it, entitled THRIVING IN THE PRESENCE OF PURE ENERGY: A Lay Cistercian reflects on invisible reality, The Mystery of Faith, and Eucharistic Adoration.  It should be completed in September, 2017.


You may not have heard of Mrs. Murphy, the fictional centerpiece of the late Fr. Aidan Kavanaugh’s writings on sacramental theology. He was a monk, Professor of Liturgics at Yale University, and died in 2008. In 1964, While attending Aidan Kavanaugh’s lectures on sacramental theology and reality at St. Meinrad School of Theology, all of us met Mrs. Murphy, although I confess I did not realize the profound meaning she held back then. Now, I am merely a broken-down, old temple of the Holy Spirit, lucky to even comment about life around me and certainly not an eloquent apologist for any approach to liturgics. In this book, Mrs. Murphy looms large as an archetype of us all, an Adam and Eve for relations with the Sacred. Let me use a quote from Fr. Aidan to give you a sense of his eloquent thinking.

 “The liturgical assembly is thus a theological corporation and each of its members a theologian. . . . Mrs. Murphy and her pastor are primary theologians whose discourse in faith is carried on not by concepts and propositions nearly so much as in the vastly complex vocabulary of experiences had, prayers said, sights seen, smells smelled, words said and heard and responded to, emotions controlled and released, sins committed and repented, children born and loved ones buried, and in many other ways no one can count or always account for.” (On Liturgical Theology, Chapter 7)

If I understand Father Aidan’s thinking even remotely, it is that the local church is established by Christ to enable its members to communicate and give glory to a God we cannot see, to make sense out of everyday struggles and trials with those we do see, and to find meaning and purpose with a world gone mad with its own importance. In the simplicity of loving our neighbor as our self, within the sacramental and non-sacramental context of the local assembly, the Mystery of Faith, we find purpose, pure energy with the source of all reality, and how to love with all our hearts, our minds, and our strength. God will not leave any of us stranded or without food to sustain us on our journey. If our purpose is to be with God…Forever, then the invisible God needs some way to communicate with those who call him Lord and give them food for the journey and the ability to make all things new, over and over. The context in which we find what we need to make sense out of all of this is the local church, linked by heritage and practice to the Apostles. It is the way to touch the invisible God in our midst, it is the way we claim our adoption as God’s children.

Mrs. Murphy represents an ecclesial everyperson, an archetype  like that of Adam and Eve, but one that touches the Sacred through the sheer fidelity and simplicity, fierce love with an unseen and invisible God, but one that is the center of all reality.  God did not leave the security of the One to be the object of study groups and biblical-theological exploration but to touch each and every one of us and, due to the sacrifice of Christ, allowing us to touch back, using the only ways we can possibly touch pure energy without having our neurons fried, through Eucharist (community) and seeking love in the most natural, daily life experiences. –Michael F. Conrad, Ed.D.


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