On Preaching Again

Campion Hall Chapel - Holy Spirit Baldacchino
Campion Hall Chapel – Holy Spirit Baldacchino

Yesterday was my first time preaching for several years. The hearers were a very Jesuit bunch: the summer remnant at Campion Hall, plus 20-odd youngish Jesuits here to study English for a month, plus one or two guests. I had a safety net in that the presider at Mass who asked me to preach was ready to stand in if necessary.

Writing the homily was a joy — slipping back into something I had long enjoyed but recently foregone — and, some fretting aside, the giving of it went well with the reminder of how much I used to love preaching. Later I received plenty of affirmation.

Before I stood up to preach I was thinking ‘why haven’t I done this before now?’ When I sat down I remembered! I had to stay seated through the rest of Mass — palpitations, sweats and shaky legs; dizziness, brain fog, and stomach cramps. The ensuing posh celebration dinner was an enjoyable but hard to stay focussed on. The good news is that this morning I don’t feel particularly bad beyond a fuzzy, hangovery head.

If the repercussions continue to be limited I will repeat the experiment. I have even created a blog category for ‘Homilies|Oxford’.

Update: I spoke to soon!

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