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Short Sermons For Preachers on the Run

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Short Sermons For Preachers on the Run.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Walter J. Burghardt(Author)

    Book details

Written shortly before he passed away in February 2008, these short sermons by Fr. Burghardt fill an enormous need. Busy preachers of all denominations will find them an inspiring resource.

3.5 (9732)
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Book details

  • PDF | 127 pages
  • Walter J. Burghardt(Author)
  • Orbis Books (October 31, 2009)
  • English
  • 2
  • Christian Books & Bibles

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Review Text

  • By Long Island Giraldo on November 16, 2009

    By way of disclaimer, the late Jesuit Father Walter J. Burghardt was my favorite seminary professor at the Catholic University of America in the late 1970s. With the appearance of this slender volume, published posthumously, the front cover blurb aptly states it as, "The Last Book by One of the Greatest Preachers of the 20th Century." I was delighted to purchase it from to round out my collection of all twenty-five of "WJBsj's" books that line my shelf, including some cherished autographed volumes. My classmates and I aptly dubbed him: "The Great One," and his lectures, along with his writings, were a grand tour de force.His Jesuit confrere and friend, James Connor [whose funeral homily graces the book as an afterword], notes in the foreword: "In a word, we meet here the very human Walter Burghardt in all his grandeur and all his simplicity. Brilliant as they are, his 'Sunday homilies' never opened that window nearly so wide It was in his nineties that Walter preached these brief, insightful homilies. He was almost blind from macular degeneration. He had grown slow of foot, but never of mind. In these homilies we recognize a voice lively to the end, thanks, I am sure, to the fact that his heart remained ever alive with the love of God and concern for all the rest of us." Burghardt's concerns for national and global issues of justice and peace, development and the environmental concerns pervade this collection and were scarcely diminished by his need to use a cumbersome overhead projector to read and special computer keyboard to compose written texts in his final years. On the 70th anniversary of his entrance to the Jesuit Order, he preached: "I only ask an occasional prayer that, despite the degeneration of my eyes, I may continue to write, preach, and clamor against global injustice. For, as a friend insists, though I am losing my sight, I have not lost my vision" (p. 111).Burghardt was ranked among the "most effective preachers in the English language today" by Baylor University in 1996 (and the only Catholic to make the grade). Unlike his previous fourteen volumes of sermons published by Paulist Press that averaged 5-6 pages each and struck a more scholarly tone (I used to say that one could obtain a liberal education from the text and footnotes!), this set of homilies was designed by Burghardt to meet "a more pressing reality" (p. 15), seen as a "gift to busy clergy, to preachers on the run" (p. 16). In reality, any person of faith or of good will could benefit from this ecumenical pioneer's gifted insights and exquisite awareness on matters of human and godly concern.In a sermon on Gaudete Sunday, the third Advent Sunday of great Christian rejoicing, Burghardt cited the observation of a Dominican friar, Brother Hyacinth Cordell: "... patience can be thought of as 'fortitude over time'" (37). Indeed, this entire collection of brief, well-appointed homilies expresses the fruits of Burghardt's courage ("grace under pressure") and patience ("fortitude over time"). His Christmas Eve homily is worth the price of the book alone and should be transformed into a children's story. He cites a time-worn phrase of G. K. Chesterton in his "All Saints' Homily": "A saint is one who exaggerates what the Church and the world have forgotten." In contrast, Burghardt remembers and extols the richest traditions of the Church and society, while laying bare their own dullard vision and myopia. His penchant for justice was prophetic, as one who "comforts the troubled and troubles the comfortable."One of the most fascinating features of the book is the sermon, "Honoring Conscientious Objectors: Expanding Our Vision for Veterans Day." [As an near-infallible proofreader of the journal THEOLOGICAL STUDIES for three decades, Walter would never have left the apostrophe out!]. In this brilliant homily, he cites the wisdom of General of the Army Omar Bradley, West Point Class of 1916: "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount" (p. 97). His concern for the displaced and forgotten of society, revealed by his friendship and collaboration with Marion Wright Edelman of "The Children's Defense Fund", find articulation in his concern expressed in the text for homeless veterans (pp. 95-96), a unique manifestation from one confined to a Jesuit community assisted living/nursing facility outside Philadelphia during his last years.In his homily for Thanksgiving Day, Burghardt poses a poignant question: "And what of us today, Americans in this century? ... as I write [we live in a time that] has killed nearly four thousand Americans and more than a million Iraqis; an aggression that has wounded almost thirty thousand Americans and has left too many soldiers with mental problems; an aggression that has already lasted longer than World War II. This is how we best give thanks to a God of mercy who gives us opportunities again and again to misuse power?" (p. 100).For one who devoted his last two decades to the "Preaching the Just Word" project he co-founded with his friend Father Ray Kemp of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, one can readily conclude: "Blessed is the one who hears the just word and keeps it." We are indebted to Father James L. Connor, S.J. and to Robert Ellsberg, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Orbis Books for this latest and final collection of homilies of Father Burghardt, from the grave, a true blessing, indeed.Highly recommended for devotional reading and sermon preparation, and significantly discounted from the cover price of $18.00 at

  • By PJ on October 30, 2010

    This book is so-so as a resource for preaching. The author's credentials can't be denied, but his preaching style is too far above the earth to be practical. The book arrived in great condition and in a timely manner, so kudos to the seller.

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