Thursday, 18 September 2008

Next Time Around...

Another picture taken in the Shrine Church at Walsingham today, with the injunction to go and see some of the new ones taken by the official Shrine photographer over at the massinformation blog. The Walsingham website also have a copy of the sermon below given by Father Davage, as I said, the Pusey House website will very shortly be ornamented with it as well.

The web is a funny old thing and brings with it good and bad communications. Today it brought an email full of good news, one about which I am undecided and one full of vitriol, claiming to offer 'inside information' about comments made by someone I have never met in person, which seem, shall we say, unflattering. I do not expect to be flattered, some even go so far as to suggest that I can be difficult (of all things), but nobody who knows me would question my unwavering love and loyalty for God and the people of God. For anything else, I could not care a fig. Not that I like figs very much, I prefer them as dates, stuffed with that sweet Moroccan cheese and rolled in honey and nuts. Not that I ever get them, mind, not even at the National Liberal Club, which adds it's name to the long list of places that I can not afford to go to at the moment. Ah well. Stop waffling.

We may be launching a new and interesting talent upon this blog soon. One of today's emails (not referred to above) was from a young man who wishes to explore his interest in the Orthodox roots of Anglicanism in this land. He has a large spade, I hope, and the findings will be displayed here if we can tempt him to do so. Maybe we can offer corporate gym membership as an incentive? Simon Sayer will be joining us soon as well. It will be very good to have comment from someone further down the t'south. I wonder if we should have a 'best of' blog, or something similar, with posts from all the Anglo Catholic bloggers? It might offer something extra.

Today I went to a meeting to discuss, in more depth, the merits of one potential curacy over another. Alas, both have similar merits so deciding where to go next is going to be very difficult. I have, though, set a date of Monday week for the end of my deliberations. Pray for me, if you be so kind.

I am going to Wakefield this weekend with a bunch of people representing, if I were to think about it which I hereto have not, all the main strands of belief running through Anglicanism. We all get on, we all spend time, voluntarily, with each other and we all listen to each others point of view. We may, in our own minds, discard much of what we hear. We could claim that this is good, one of the glories of our Church, that we can all pull together for the Kingdom of God, but lately I have wondered if this is really what we want and if it is really how we can all grow healthily and with integrity. The alternatives are equally difficult though. We could form another lunatic fringe of schismatics, destined to fall, because the one thing this country does not need is more denominations. We could all go to Rome and be, with a few exceptions, pretty miserable and possibly betray our calling to serve a particular people. We could all fight for the sake of Anglicanism, with Christ by our side, for the salvation of the souls of these people to whom we are called to serve.

A friend wanted to be a monk, he thought. He was daunted by the many ways of being one, the many different orders and monasteries, the different ways of life and prayer, the different Churchmanships, for want of a better word and he was daunted by the thought that he might make the wrong choice, or that the monastery might close down or change charism. All these are difficult decisions to make and I hope he makes the right one, I hope he finds the hand of God to guide him through the right door. It seems a big commitment to make. We, though, make an equally big, difficult commitment and we have to make it time and time again, depending which Parishes we move to. We commit if we fall in love, to our partners and to any children which might magically appear. We commit to our orders, to the SSC or to the OGS, or whichever. We commit to a Bishop in a Diocese who may or may not, really, want us there. We commit to the people we are sent to serve. We do all this in the same way that my friend commits to a community of men. We do it through the love and the grace of God. My monastic friend will have hard times and so will we, but he will not question his calling to serve God in the way he is doing, I pray, and nor should we, even when it seems that the community around us is changing and we feel squeezed out to make way for reform. Padre Pio was denied by his monastery and squeezed out, forced to celebrate the new mass, his brothers in the monastery spread lies about him and wished him gone. He stayed where God sent him all those years away and is now a Saint of the Church. Phillip Neri was laughed at and scorned by Roman society for his childish ways but he persevered and founded the Oratory.

What we can give to God is equivalent to what we are willing to accept that He has given us. If we accept that He has given us life, bought our salvation and has called us into a very particular place, at a very particular time, then we have to give back to Him what He has given us, our lives, in His service, our sacrifice of prayer and praise and our ministry, ever directed towards Him. In this place, at this time.