Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the fisherman, Simon Peter, who had fished all night in familiar waters, but had caught nothing. Christ commands him, “Duc in Altum,” that is, “push out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch.” Although skeptical, Peter does just as Jesus commands. Out in the deep, he catches so many fish that his nets begin to tear and his boat is in danger of sinking. Peter's astonishment is overwhelming. Christ reassures him, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."
Peter was an ordinary man called to an extraordinary mission and who grew, by fits and starts, ever greater in the spiritual life by his ever-hopeful trust in the Lord.
Each week, and in the style of a directed retreat, Fr. Joseph Henchey and Lisa Fortini-Campbell will delve into a different dimension of Peter's growth in faith, connecting it to the vast treasure chest of Scripture and the Magesterium to show how we, too, can move further out into the deep as we follow Christ in the path of the fisherman, our first Pope.
Fr. Henchey interviews with Cardinal Timothy Dolan about his Duc in Altum show.
Episode 47: Fr. Henchey further explores the new covenant written on human hearts in references to it in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 11, 35 and 36. He explores the key words, “covenant,” “heart,” “eternal” “everlasting” and “written.” The accumulation of all of these texts presents a projection forward of the mercy of God to those believers who persevere in faith and which we see prefigured in the Transfiguration itself. April 25, 2018.
Episode 46: Fr. Henchey begins this reflection by returning to the beginning of St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians in which Paul establishes himself as a legitimate minister of the Word of God, directly taught by Christ. In introducing this letter, he draws on his vast Old Testament Scriptural knowledge to express a theology of the New Covenant, not written on tablets of stone as in the time of Moses, but on hearts of living flesh. April 18, 2018.
Episode 45: Continuing with an exploration of Scriptural references to the Transfiguration, Fr. Henchey explains 2 Peter 1:16-18. As a witness to the Transfiguration, Peter’s description is a first-hand account of this extraordinary event and he uses it both to rebut the false teachers of the Gospel and to encourage hope by showing the Transfiguration as a foretaste of Heaven. Fr. Henchey concludes this reflection with a few observations on the Transfiguration by St. Thomas Aquinas. April 11, 2018.
Episode 44: Fr. Henchey now considers the Gospels of Luke and John. As Luke did in his description of the Agony, he again emphasizes prayer as a central element of his account of the Transfiguration. John, who does not explicitly describe the Transfiguration event, refers to it in his more mystical references to the thunder and the light. In all, these four Gospels encourage us to see the Transfiguration as encouragement to persevere in our journey to fulfill the promises of Christ in our own lives. April 4, 2018.
Episode 43: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey moves on to the Transfiguration stories in both Mark and Matthew and dissects these rich spiritual passages, comparing and contrasting their emphases. He shows that while Mark emphasizes the Christological and Matthew the ecclesial, both encourage us to commit to ongoing conversion by removing the veils that obscure our understanding of the way of life Christ wants us to follow. March 28, 2018.
Episode 42: Fr. Henchey continues his discussion of the Transfiguration by explaining more of the symbolism of the Icon itself—the figure of Christ enrobed in white, the three figures high on the mountain, the golden colors which infuse the setting and the figures of the disciples crouched in awe. He then begins a formal exposition of the Biblical accounts of the Transfiguration mystery starting with 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 from which we learn that the Transfiguration of Christ calls us to ongoing conversion until we become, eternally, images of God’s glory ourselves. March 21, 2018.
Episode 41: This episode begins a multi-part exploration of the Redemptive Mystery of the Transfiguration, yet another event in Christ’s life at which St. Peter was present. Fr. Henchey’s discussion begins with a focus on the famous iconographic paintings of the Transfiguration as a way of understanding the roles of Christ, of Moses and Elijah (the prophets and the Law) and of the disciples who are overwhelmed by this extraordinary experience. March 14, 2018.
Episode 40: Here Fr. Henchey finishes his discussion of the four theologians’ interpretations and concludes his exploration of the Agony in the Garden with some related discussion on the theology of martyrdom and the theology of prayer and finally finishes with some thoughts on how this great mystery can help us through our own dark nights of the soul. March 7, 2018.
Episode 39: Fr. Henchey continues his discussion of four theologians’ interpretations of St. Luke’s Gospel with the writings of Gamba who also takes a milder metaphoric interpretation of the sweating of blood and uses it to emphasize Jesus’ suffering and the intensity of his responding prayer. Last, he looks at Feuillet who presents Luke as a doctor describing an actual event as a precise pathology. February 28, 2018.
Episode 38: Fr. Henchey more fully explores St. Luke’s unique description of Christ sweating blood and uses the interpretations of four theologians to help us understand its meaning. He begins with the writings of Gallizzi who understood the sweating of blood as completely metaphoric and of Stanley who further questioned the fundamental authenticity of the few lines which refer to the blood in Luke’s Gospel. February 21, 2018.
Episode 37: In this episode, Fr. Henchey turns to the Agony in the Garden according to the Gospel of St. Luke which, while the shortest of the accounts, contains the richest expression of this great mystery. Through Luke, Fr. Henchey delves into the historic meaning of the word “agony” which referred to the strenuous striving of an athlete in competition. Yet, Christ’s agony was not the result of a physical exertion, but rather an internal spiritual one, and as a result, Luke uniquely notes that he “sweated blood.”
Episode 36: To further the description of the ecclesial dimensions of Matthew’s scene of the Agony in Gethsemane, Fr. Henchey calls our attention to three culminating moments in this mystery of redemption: first, that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham; second, that he is the suffering servant of God; and third, that Jesus will come at the end of time as the Son of Man in Glory.
Episode 35: Fr. Henchey begins a discussion of the Agony according to St. Matthew which emphasizes its ecclesial dimension. Drawing on Zc. 13:7, “I shall strike the Shepherd and the flock shall be scattered,” Matthew emphasizes that this is the “hour when God’s will shall be done.” While the Shepherd is struck and the flock scattered, it shall also be reunited, which is a message the Church needs to hear in her struggles throughout the ages.
Episode 34: Here Fr. Henchey concludes his exploration of the Agony according to St. Mark with a discussion of the role of the disciples and he summarizes what we should all learn from Mark’s account of Christ’s dark night. He puts forward the idea that as we, too, face the trials of weakness of the flesh and the tests to our faith, we can meet and surmount them through the power of prayer just as Christ himself did.
Episode 33: In this further reflection on Mark’s Gospel, Fr. Henchey explores the line in Mark 14:27 which says, “I am going to strike the Shepherd” and also at the Last Supper when Christ says, “I tell you solemnly, one of you is going to betray me.” These phrases, “struck by God” and “rejected by men,” have particular resonance in the Garden and help us interpret and explain Christ’s sense of abandonment by God.
Episode 32: Continuing with the Gospel according to Mark, Fr. Henchey looks at the distinction between temptation and trial, emphasizing that God does not solicit anyone to evil but that he does allow trial and suffering. In the Garden, Christ the Good Shepherd was “struck by God,” and underwent a great trial as his Suffering Servant. This trial culminated in Christ’s submission to his Father with the words, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
Episode 31: Here, Fr. Henchey takes up Mark’s account of the Agony in Gethsemane and explores Mark’s particular emphasis on Christology and the Messianic secret in which Christ’s message and person are so often misunderstood.
Episode 30: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey lays out the third theological theory of the agony in the Garden--that Christ is engaged in a great Messianic battle to conquer the magnified evil of human sin. In these hours of darkness before his arrest at midnight, Christ lived out his oblation to the Father's will and became the voluntary offertory sacrifice which will finally redeem fallen man and restore the potential for eternal life for which we were all created.
Episode 29: Theologians have put forward three theories to explain the meaning of Christ's agony in the Garden: a natural human reaction to the anticipation of pain and death, a psychological and spiritual (mystical) distress at the total abandonment by the Father, and the effects of the great spiritual combat that Jesus undertook for us all. In this reflection, Fr. Henchey examines and pros and cons of the first two theories, ultimately showing that no one explanation can ever fully explain the great sacrifice of self-abandonment Christ made to save all of us for all time.
Episode 28: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey looks at the "Garden scene" in the Gospel of St. Luke, with its links to his description of Christ's temptations in the desert.
Episode 27: The agony in Gesthemane now serving as an anchor for our understanding of the vast wisdom of Scripture, Fr. Henchey explores such fundamental ideas as temptation and trial and introduces the influence of the "evil one." All of this serves to help us better understand Christ's own temptations and the great spiritual combat he undertook to save us all.
Episode 26: With this reflection, Fr. Henchey begins major leg of our voyage into the deep with a long study of the redemptive mystery of the Agony in the Garden of Gesthemane. He gives us a preview of all of the elements of this study and then offers an overview of the ideas that are crucial in our attempt to grasp this mystery: temptation, trial, agony and the sweating of blood, according to the Gospel of Luke.
Episode 25: Here, Fr. Henchey goes deeply into the writings of the prophets Joel and Amos whose descriptions of the darkness reveal the awe-inspiring power of God which we call, "The Day of the Lord." The Day of the Lord reaches its zenith on Calvary in the darkness that came over all the earth when Christ's sacrifice was complete and Death was defeated. This is a redemptive darkness and out of it comes eternal salvation because the powers of darkness will never prevail.
Episode 24: In this episode, Fr. Henchey continues his Scripture-wide exploration the rich meaning of darkness with a special focus on the Exodus imagery and its stories of the dark cloud, the ninth plague and the dark night. Yet, out of this darkness came new life for Israel just as forgiveness and a new mission came out of the dark night for Peter. For us, too, the darkness which comes into our lives is not permanent and by the mercy of God, we can walk out of it into new light.
Episode 23: Moving forward from his discussion of Psalm 130 (De Profundis) Fr. Henchey opens up a new theme in our voyage into the deep with an exploration of the pervasive metaphor of "darkness." In the darkness after he denied Christ, Peter repented and hoped. In contrast, in the darkness after he betrayed Christ, Judas despaired. Thus, the "darkness" can both "illuminate and comfort" us or "obscure and frighten" us. Beginning deep in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, Fr. Henchey explores the richness of references to the darkness into which the Light of the World will eventually come.
Episode 22: Fr. Henchey concludes his discussion of Psalm 130 by developing the theme of God's great and all-encompassing mercy. The psalmist has confidence that God will forgive him, extend His hand to him, and mercifully lift him up because he has cried out to God in his helplessness. In the life of St. Peter which follows the Resurrection, we can see that God did indeed extend His hand of mercy after Peter's great fall. In the same way, all of us should lift up our hearts and have the same confidence that if we turn back to God, no matter the persistence of the weakness nor the gravity of the sin, God will lovingly welcome us back to Him.
Episode 21: Fr. Henchey begins his discussion of the poetry of Psalm 130 in earnest and he links its description of the "depths" of suffering which the psalmist expresses in images of flooding, darkness and imprisonment to the many other Scriptural passages that use similar imagery to describe a supplicant's misery. Yet, the psalmist is confident God sees his pain and hears his pleas. In the same way, we, too, can be confident that God hears our cries for mercy and just as He saved Peter, He will wash away and forget our sins in the abundance of His mercy.
Episode 20: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey continues and then concludes his explanation of Psalm 51, the psalm that he suggests could well have been the cry of Peter's own heart (although it was written centuries before he was born). He analyzes the poem verse by verse concluding with its hope-filled promise of forgiveness and redemption. This leads directly to his overview of Psalm 130, the poem referred to as De Profundis because of its opening lines: "Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!"
Episode 19: Fr. Henchey begins an exploration of Psalm 51, the great Miserere. After a discussion of the context, history, dating and authorship of this poem, Fr. Henchey sets up its three great themes: acknowledgment of sin, plea for mercy and thanksgiving for redemption. The psalmist gives us a preview of all three themes in the poem's opening verses.
Episode 18: The great Psalm 22 concludes with the sufferer singing hymns of thanksgiving and praise full of confident hope that God will save and redeem him. In this reflection, Fr. Henchey teaches us that we, too, can lead lives full of such hope, no matter the suffering we are enduring or the sins we have committed. St. Peter knew this truth first hand as he was forgiven his denial of the Lord and offered the great mission to feed and tend Christ's flock. As we begin to absorb this idea, too, we are led to a greater abandonment of our lives to the mercy of God so that no matter what our life's circumstances, we will "live in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives."
Episode 17: Going even more deeply into the descriptions of suffering in Psalm 22, we see metaphors for fear, pain and rejection expressed in heart-breaking poetry. But, the psalmist never loses hope. In the depths of his suffering, his meditations turn to supplication for rescue and then towards hope and praise for the goodness of God. The psalm which began with words echoed by Christ on the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me," will end with heartfelt thanksgiving for the mercy of God.
Episode 16: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey continues his exploration of the richness of Psalm 22, uncovering the nuance of its verses which lament the emotional and physical suffering of its writer. He shows how this kind of suffering, in great and small ways, comes to each and every one of us. However, he also teaches that our lamentations must not become an endpoint in our suffering, but rather a threshold over which we cross as we acknowledge the greatness of God and allow Him to help us move towards trust in Him.
Episode 15: After Peter's fall, he did not despair but trusted in the mercy of God. While we do not know the words of his repentance, perhaps the poetry of the three great psalms of suffering, repentance, and trust in God (Ps 22, 51, and 130) might give us a clue. In this reflection, Fr. Henchey begins an in-depth exploration of Psalm 22 and its famous words of overwhelming distress, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me," words echoed by Christ himself, and words which set the stage for the sufferer to open himself to God's mercy. September 13, 2017.
Episode 14: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey continues to discuss the theme of conversion by exploring its theology and connection to the Blessed Trinity. Conversion is an exodus from what was to what will be and the Trinity fosters that pilgrimage through the gentle encouragement of the Father, in the exemplar of the Son and with the fortification of the gifts of the Spirit. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the action of the Trinity becomes evident as the penitent who leaves sin behind is elevated to a deeper communion of friendship in the Trinity. September 6, 2017.
Episode 13: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey explains that true conversion must be undertaken urgently, be sincere and total, although of course, it comes to final fruition only in our personal resurrections. However, while we are on earth, and as it was for Peter, our conversion will begin to bear fruit as it changes us and our relationships with other people. August 30, 2017.
Episode 12: David's conversion began when he absorbed the impact of Nathan's words: "You are the man!" Peter's eye contact with Christ was a similar moment of epiphany when he realized that Christ's prediction that he would deny Him three times was true. True sorrow over this failure put Peter on the road to redemption. In this reflection, Fr. Henchey shows us that while conversion needs to be expressed in external behavioral change, at its foundation, it requires a "metanoia;" that is, a deep interior conversion and turning of heart and mind toward God. August 23, 2017.
Episode 11: Just as Peter's call began when Christ caught his eye, his fall was complete when Christ caught his eye once again after Peter denied Him three times. Peter's fall is anguishing proof of our human tendency to protect ourselves when our beliefs are under siege even if, like Peter, we have said, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you." (Mk 14:31, Mt. 26:35). But, Fr. Henchey shows us that when "sin abounds, grace super-abounds" and in times like these, we can all rise up again, helped by the hand of the Merciful God, just like Peter did. August 16, 2017.
Episode 10: When Peter proclaimed to Christ, "You are the Son of the Living God," he didn't comprehend the full meaning of those words, yet in them, Christ saw the touch of His Father: "Blessed are you, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you." (Mt 16:17). That notwithstanding, the "Rock" on whom Christ would build His Church still had much to learn. In this reflection, Fr. Henchey shows how Christ helped Peter develop humility and trust by teaching him to stay close by and never to get ahead of Him as they traveled to Jerusalem and eventually on to Calvary. August 9, 2017.
Episode 9: As Peter began his walk with Christ, he grew in humility and trust. Like many of us, his learning process was clumsy, full of false starts, mistakes and misunderstandings. Yet, through it all, Peter was willing to pick himself up and start again which, as Fr. Henchey tells us, must be our way, too, so that we never give into the temptation to discouragement along the long path of our own growth in the spiritual life. August 2, 2017.
Episode 8: This reflection begins a multi-part series on the central events of Peter's life; his call, his early preaching, his fall, his conversion and his repentance, all of which culminated in the great mission of mercy Christ entrusted to him when He said, "Feed my lambs, tend my sheep." (Jn 21:15-17). Fr. Henchey begins here with Peter's call, when Christ caught his eye and said, "Follow me and I will make you a fisher of men." July 26, 2017.
Episode 7: In this last reflection in the series on the Precious Blood, Fr. Henchey draws on the Letter to the Hebrews to show how Christ's sacrifice has allowed us all to become members of his integral family; that is, his true "blood brothers and sisters." July 19, 2017.
Episode 6: Fr. Henchey develops St. Paul's idea of the Precious Blood, particularly as the seal of the covenant of God's mercy which is the fundamental divine attribute. July 12, 2017.
Episode 5: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey delves more deeply into the nature of the Precious Blood as that substance which sustains us during our pilgrimage on earth, giving us new life and hope in our lifelong quest for happiness and union with Christ. July 5, 2017
Episode 4: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey begins a four-part exploration of what Peter first called the "Precious Blood" of Christ (1 Peter 1:19). He begins by tracing the water of baptism and the blood of sacrifice back into their Old Testament roots and explores the way these two "life principles" seal our covenant with God. June 28, 2017.
Episode 3: Where do we get the energy to persevere in our voyage into the spiritual deep? In this reflection, Fr. Henchey shows how baptism changes our essential character, bringing us new life and making us more open to the grace that will transform us as we ever so gradually work to become more Christ-like during our pilgrimage here on earth." June 21, 2017.
Episode 2: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey will tell us about four Old Testament heroes: Abraham, Moses, David and Jeremiah, all of whom God called "out into the deep" from their so-called comfort zones to great heights of spiritual growth. In that sense, they all prefigure the great St. Peter himself and their stories enhance our own understanding of how we, too, might travel further "out into the deep," in our own spiritual journeys. June 14, 2017.
Episode 1: In this inaugural episode, Fr. Henchey and Lisa show us why Peter, the most ordinary of men, can be a model for us on our own journeys of faith. In hope and in trust and despite his many weakness and failings, Peter never gave up on his willingness to move beyond his “comfort zone” and into the spiritual depths, as he gradually conformed himself to the model of Christ. June 7, 2017.
Rev. Joseph Charles Henchey, CSS, STD was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, USA, not far from Boston, on June 2, 1930. He entered the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata on January 6, 1946, and was ordained a Stigmatine Priest in Rome, Italy, on July 1, 1956.
Father Henchey received a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelicum, in Rome, in 1973. He served in Rome teaching at the Pontifical University for over 20 years, and also as General Councilor of the Stigmatine Congregation [1970-1976 and 1988-1990]. Following this, he taught several years at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, CT.
In 1996, the North American Episcopal Conference appointed Father Henchey to the Pontifical North American College in Rome as an Assistant Spiritual Director. Father Henchey held this position until 2002, when he was then appointed to the same position at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, MA.
In the fall of 2006, he was appointed to Mundelein Seminary, near Chicago, IL, as occupant of the Paluch Chair of Theology. He held this position until 2009, when he was appointed as Professor of Theology and a Formation Director to the St. Joseph Seminary [Dunwoodie] in Yonkers, NY, position that he held until March, 2014. In the fall of 2015, Father Henchey returned to Mundelein Seminary as Adjunct Spiritual Director.
He has also traveled widely giving retreats, courses and lectures to priests, religious and the laity.
For all of his Stigmatine life, Father Henchey has been a student of St. Gaspar Bertoni, the founder of the Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata.
Lisa Fortini-Campbell, PhD, has served on the faculty of the Medill School of Journalism and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago for the last 25 years. Her teaching has focused on motivational psychology and communications theory and she has taught a wide variety of courses to both graduate degree students and executives at the university and in corporate settings around the world.
Lisa is a mid-life convert to the Catholic faith and now that she is retired from her university teaching, she is redirecting her work as an educator to encouraging fellow Christians in their faith. She is a frequent speaker at retreats, conferences and parish missions and has been a long-serving faculty member in the Ongoing Pastoral Formation program sponsored jointly by the Kellogg School of Management and Mundelein Seminary. In 2013, she was invited by the late Cardinal Francis George to address the priests of the Archdiocese on the New Evangelization and also served as a keynote speaker at the 2015 Catechetical Conference of the Archdiocese speaking after Cardinal Blase Cupich.
Lisa met Fr. Henchey during her conversion to Catholicism, and he has served as her Spiritual Director since 2009.
Episode 48: Fr. Henchey continues his discussion of 2 Corinthians 3 by explaining St. Paul’s references to the “Old Testament Transfiguration” of Moses in Exodus 34. He compares and contrasts key elements of the Old and New Covenants: the Old being written for a specific community and the New for everyone; the Old written on stone and the New on living hearts; the Old being an object and the New Christ Himself; the Old being temporal and the New everlasting; the Old being narrow and the New expansive. In all, he shows how St. Paul draws together the Old and New Covenants, yet reveals how much the New fully surpasses the Old.
Episode 49: In this final reflection on the Transfiguration, Fr. Henchey takes up the rich concept of the “veil” comparing and contrasting the veil Moses wore to prevent the Israelites from being overwhelmed by the glory of God which shone on his face with the veil of our own weakness which blinds us to the reality of God and keeps us from making a full leap of faith to him. In the Transfiguration, the veil was temporarily lifted for Peter letting him see what was in store in eternal life after death. Guided by Peter, our task is to try to remove the veil which obscures our eyes and turn towards God trustingly.
Episode 50: Fr. Henchey examines the broad subject of prayer; that is, the road on which spiritual growth travels and he addresses many questions, including: what is prayer, why do we pray, how should we pray, what are the kinds of prayer and how often and in what settings should we pray. He tells us that prayer “is lifting the mind and heart to God” and any way that we attempt this conversation with God, he will surely hear us.
Episode 51: In this reflection, Fr. Henchey describes our lifelong quest for God which St. Augustine called a “restlessness” and which the Psalms call a “longing” that is like an ache which cannot be soothed. Prayer helps us on this quest because through it we learn that not only are we searching for God, but that Christ is searching for us. In prayer, we “knock” at the door and when we do, the door will be opened for us because Christ has promised that anyone who sincerely searches for him will not fail to find him.
Episode 52: In this final reflection of Duc In Altum, Fr. Henchey looks at man’s quest for God in the context of the broad sweep of human history, from the time long before Jesus and in the world of the “unbelievers,” through the long story of God’s chosen people, the Jews, to those of the Christian era who have been able to find the image of God in the person of Jesus Christ. St. Peter’s own long quest to know, to understand, to love, and to be like Christ gives us hope that our own life of prayer will prepare us for the time that we, too, are transfigured with the glorified Christ.