The Theology of the Barn Yard

People find themselves drawn to the Catholic Church and the RCIA for many different Theology of the barnreasons. Each person has a unique conversion story. A few years ago there was a man who came through our RCIA that made quite an impression on my favorite deacon.

It seems that this man had hit rock bottom. He was a slave to drink and other vices. One day he found himself, as a day laborer, mucking out a filthy barn. Somehow he managed to clean out the barn. This led to an epiphany: if he could clean up such a filthy place, then he could clean up—muck out—his soul. The man reasoned that he could, with God’s help, clean up his life.

My deacon speaks of this man’s conversion often; he calls it the “Theology of the Barn Yard”

It is a reminder that we all fall short of the glory of God. That is why Jesus gave us the merciful sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. If we confess and repent, God will always takes us back. He  picks us up when we fall face down in the mud and muck.

And unlike Humpty Dumpty, the King of Kings can put us back together when we are broken.

Dr. Tom Neal, over at Neal Obstat has a thought provoking post up that reminded me of The Theology of the Barn Yard.


God of Muck

“Then I recalled a gentleman I have written of in this Blog before (the one about vulgarity) who returned to the Church after many years away. He had a gut-wrenching and heart-ripping experience in the confessional with an old monk that left him utterly changed (and to this day, years later, even more so). He described his confession this way: “It was like I was sinking in sewage and Jesus grabbed my hand and pulled me out. I’d never felt so clean in my life. After it was over, the monk said to me: now, the Lord has taken you to himself again, clothed you in white garments and re-lit the flame of faith that was blown out in your soul after your baptism. Now, keep it that way! It was like Jesus himself was talking to me!”

God conspired for a whole history in time to give us this reconciling Sacrament, like a bridegroom consumed by love for a bride who has spurned him; a Bridegroom who spares nothing to win her love back.

We Catholics really tend to domesticate our faith, but truth is our Sacraments transact absolutely, totally, completely crazy stuff — stuff that could only have been dreamed up by (a la Catherine of Siena) Dio, pazzo d’Amore, God, the mad Lover.

Look for Him at your next Confession.” Read Fire and Muck…

I must add a fourth resolution to yesterday’s post: Get thee to Confession more often!

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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