Friday, 17 October 2008

The days I have spent in Walsingham were truly days of reflection. We were blessed by very good speakers and also by the company of like-minded priests in the context of the holy place that is Walsingham.
The Bishop of Whitby who was the chaplain for this pilgrimage opened the proceedings with an audio-visual presentation entitled: “…let God be God.” It was very moving to see coming together an iconostasis of sorts. The middle panel was the crucified Christ inspired by St John of the cross and this was soon surrounded by snapshots of other ways in which Christ is crucified today. It is to this context that we are led by God to be ministers of his healing.
I think that the first step in the ministry of healing is engagement. We need ears, eyes and time to take stock of the situations we find ourselves in. It is the time in which we acknowledge Christ’s presence in those afflicted by any kind of suffering. In some situations we need to acknowledge and find out what causes such sufferings like injustice, pride or sin. It is also necessary to find new ways in which to highlight to our congregations the need of using the confessional, the development of Penitential Celebrations was discussed. All our speakers were really well prepared and have enlightened us with what they had to say. It came out very clear in the plenary session that the speakers were top class.
We enjoyed our time for prayer. The joy of the daily offices and Mass, the Stations, the Rosary, the laying on of hands and anointing, procession and benediction, the renewal of baptismal vows and the renewal of ordination vows. We also had time to reflect and ponder.
Needless to say we spoke about our present situation as Anglo-Catholics within the Church of England. Much was said. It was heart breaking to see priests who dedicated their whole life for ministry within the C of E to see them so disappointed by the hurt and betrayal of the last Synod. Surely, pushing out of the Church so many good people is not coming from God. This was made worse for me when I heard that a very good seminarian has left his training to be received in the Church of Rome. Why should our future priests be made to feel like this?
We need healing and wholeness on this whole situation, we hope and pray that the only cure available is not amputation, but if that is the price to remain faithful to Christ, so be it.
In the meantime let us continue to be ministers of joy, disciples of Christ, our souls and minds enlightened by the fire of love towards Christ, the fire that burns within us and consumes us, and let us light the darkness that surrounds us with that same glorious fire of love which no institution can quench or separate us from.

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