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A Missionary Heart

Fr. Thomas Hemm, C.PP.S.

Enduring the catechumenate process in jail is a real lesson in what "spirituality" means. Often that word misleads us. Jesus guides us into a spirituality that does not take us away to ethereal mysteries in some outer space. It is not concerned primarily with sacred rites held in sacred times and places. Nor does it evolve around special prayers and formulas.

Jesus, rather, leads us to find the holy in all of those spots in society where human life is diminished to pay the debt, and well-being is sacrificed daily for the survival of "respectable society." As a matter of fact, this is just how Jesus got himself into so much trouble.

While it is true that Jesus never landed in jail as did John the Baptizer, he did experience arrest, false accusations, torture, and finally legal death by capital punishment. Still in those agonizing final hours of his life he identified forever with all who are judged and condemned. In those final hours he died in the manner that he lived, suffering "outside the gate, to sanctify the people by his own blood (Heb. 13:12)."

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