By Sean Ryan - 11 November, 2015
"This is the book I didn’t want to write. It is the book the publishers encouraged me to compile for more than 10 years and which I steadfastly resisted.”
Entitled ‘And Catch The Heart Off Guard’, in it he talks about his Sunday sermons.
Writing about it in his weekly column in the Sunday World, the Passionist priest he said, “I’ll admit it now, this is the book I didn’t want to write. It is the book the publishers encouraged me to compile for more than 10 years now and which I steadfastly resisted.”
The book, which is published by Columba Press, gives an insight into some of the thoughts behind for Fr Brian’s Sunday sermons and is aimed at people of faith and none.
“When I prepare my Sunday sermons, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading, studying, praying and then reflecting on what I should say to our faithful congregation at multiple Masses each weekend. I have been following the same laborious routine at St Gabriel’s Retreat, the Graan, Co Fermanagh for 20 years or so.”
“I never write sermons before I preach, but each Sunday night I put the salient points of the homily on paper to be typed up later in the week. I save them, and when the relevant Sunday in the three year cycle, comes around again, I check what I said three years ago.”
“I’ll repeat a story or an insight, but mostly I make sure not to preach the same sermon year after year.”
Fr D’Arcy said that he finds sermons challenging.
“I find preaching the Sunday homily challenging. Yet I recognise that most people who attend our Masses relish the challenge. They long to be comforted by God’s Word. They need, and appreciate, an inspiring, practical thought to get them through the week. They want to live their faith and to believe their religion is still relevant.”
Explaining how the book came about, the popular broadcaster said, “The publisher tried to persuade me that jottings from these sermons would do precisely that. A book of spiritual thoughts would be valuable not only for those who attend our Masses, but even more so for those who can’t come to the Graan every week.”
The publishers argued that the central theme of a homily remains relevant because gospel truths continue to guide and inspire.
“Earlier this year, by way of twisting my arm, it was suggested to me that Angela Hanley, a theologian, lecturer and writer, was willing to sift through some material and that she, not me, would decide if there was anything worth gathering for a book. I am forever grateful to Angela for taking on the task. She has done a magnificent job.”
Speaking of the books significance he said for the most part her selections are short and to the point.
“They are meant to spark a thought of comfort, peace or perhaps prayer within the reader. I think it’s best to pick and choose your own way through the book as the Holy Spirit suggests, rather than read it from cover to cover.”
The book retails at €14.99 and all profits will be distributed to a number of charities.