[Mike Mangione is a nationally touring musician and popular podcast host. To subscribe to his podcast, Time & the Mystery, on iTunes (and leave a review) click here. To learn more about his music, click here.]
Growing up in the 90s there was no bigger show for me than Saturday Night Live, and no bigger cast member than Chris Farley. When I was a student at Marquette University, I used to imagine fellow alum, Farley, running late for class through the academic yard … as seen in the movie Tommy Boy. Anytime I share my story of touring and living in a van for two years it is almost guaranteed someone wittingly responds, “Was it down by a river?” – a quote from Chris Farley’s iconic motivational speaker character, Matt Foley. I have always felt a strong connection to Chris especially after I heard that he was a practicing Catholic, like myself. I have always related to the very honest and human sweet/troubled reality that Chris lived. Not for any glorified reasons but rather for its honest, hopeful and redemptive qualities. Chris was not perfect and neither am I. I have always felt like I could relate to him, though never knowing him, somewhat on that level. So when I found out that his SNL character Matt Foley was named after his college rugby buddy-turned Catholic priest, Army chaplain and Afghanistan veteran, Father Matt Foley – and Fr. Matt lived an hour and a half away from me – I thought, I absolutely have to meet this man and talk about who he is, his friend Chris, their relationship, and their faith. Enjoy Time & The Mystery: Conversations with Father Matt Foley.
This week’s Gospel presents Jesus’ well-known response to those who asked him about paying taxes to Caesar. Since the Roman coin bore Caesar’s image and inscription, Jesus said, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” The deeper question, of course, is: What belongs to God? We do. For we bear his image and inscription. Where? How? Traditionally theologians have said we image God as individuals, through our rational soul. That’s true. But St. John Paul II says that “man became the image of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of persons, which man and woman form from the very beginning” (TOB 9:3). God himself is an eternal Communion of Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The call to a similar communion is inscribed by God right in our bodies as male and female. The body itself is a witness to self-giving love. God took on a body precisely to make a gift of his body for us. Let us “repay” God by making a gift of our bodies for him.
Rome, Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria of Ecstasy of St Theresa, by Bernini Gian Lorenzo, 1644-1652, 17th Century, marble.
Teresa of Avila — next to Mary the Mother of God, she may be the most famous mystic bride in Church history. When Jesus praised the wise virgins (see Mt 25:1-13), through his divine foreknowledge, he must have had Teresa of Avila in mind (after his Mother) as someone at the top of the list.
Since Teresa’s feast day falls on a Sunday this year (Oct. 15), she won’t be getting the attention she deserves. So I thought I’d say just a little bit about her.
Each month, I hold a live Question & Answer chat with Cor Members on our private Membership Facebook group. It’s one of the many perks of being a member (you get a huge amount of resources at your fingertips for just $10/month). The topics are wide-ranging and often deal with real-life challenges of learning, living and sharing St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB). Here is a sample from a recent Q&A. I hope you find these discussions helpful.