Friday, March 24, 2017

The Annunciation : a Rose among the purple



As we try to continue our self examination and honour the discipline that we have taken on during Lent, into the midst of it comes crashing a Feast of immense proportion.

As Catholics, we believe wholeheartedly in the idea of life begins at conception. Thus, the Mystery of the Incarnation begins here. Why are we not engaged in the same feasting as we are at Christmas or on the Day of Resurrection? Should we not suspend the fast for this most glorious celebration?

There are those who could make a good argument that we should, and it is perhaps best to leave that to their consciences and those who accept their reasons. Eating and drinking to the Lord are always acceptable, and above custom, rule, and praxis. However, many instances of Christian piety would tell us to continue the fast in preparation for Paschaltide.

The Annunciation puts the Rose among the purple. In the time of our fast, we see that young virgin meekly accept the Archangel and his message, and agree to nine months of taking care of herself and thus the little one slumbering in her womb. From this moment, her body is not her own and she must live a life in respect of that. Likewise, we know that we are temples of the Holy Ghost and therefore not our own person. Indeed, it is that own person that we actively seek to crucify with Christ in order to rise with Him.

This is not an occasion for feasting. It is about a re-committing our very selves to bearing Christ in our hearts, striving to bring Him to birth in our lives. It is a time for purification, so that the focus of our lives is on the presence of the Holy Ghost within us and obedience to the Divine Will. Our Blessed Lady was indeed pure at this annunciation, and continued in that purity for her life, It is the same challenge that we must face in a world which seeks to rob us of that purity by distraction, and corruption.

Yet, while we still fast, we can rejoice! for joy is not a virtue that originates in the pleasures of this life, but bursts through the fleeting happiness caused by food, drink, and artificial merriment. In the midst of our purple, we can cultivate that Rose! We can still breathe in that glorious scent of sanctity that pours forth from all things holy. We can still look upon the face of our Lord and see that incarnation in its entirety from conception to death, resurrection, and ascension, and weep with joy that, in the midst of our purple, He planted the rose of Salvation.

We look at a world constantly falling to rack and ruin in the constant rejection of the beauty of Our Lady which gives unequivocal testimony to the fact that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us!

Let us continue in our fast until Resurrection Day so that we see the rose in the purple, and then bring it through the blackness into the golden light of Eternity. Then we shall enjoy God's creation in our feasting, for it will be transformed by that Life beyond life.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Benedictine Divinity versus Theology and Philosophy



Holy Father Benedict, pray to God for us!

On this, the Feast of the passing of St Benedict, I find that a topic that I touched on in my previous post is quite pertinent, and one that needs thinking about very seriously.

Having looked at the Liberal Agenda below, it seems clear that many people who claim religious roles in society are exercising their brains in Philosophy rather than true Theology. Indeed, Theology in modern UK universities tends to be more about Comparative Religion, and the Philosophy of Religion rather than what the Doctors of the Church would regard as true Theology.

St Benedict himself is not classed as a Doctor of the Church. He is an Abbot and Confessor in Liturgical parlance. He is no bishop, king, or prelate, and yet he establishes a Rule that puts people on course for the Divine. It is a rule that will give rise to hospitals, schools, and universities, and is thus at the heart of our lives, and yet people are tending to follow the course of the Liberal Agenda rather than put their trust in a system of work and prayer. His is a path that uses a Theology that's lived in rather than studied and put into practice through argumentation. For me, whether this is accurate or not, this represents the difference between Theology and Divinity.

Divinity seems to be dying out in the universities in the U.K. It was an academic discipline that combined theology with ministry: in short, it might be described as applied Theology.

This makes sense. We encounter God Himself when we engage in His service. First, we pray, and then we work. The whole point is that Theology is never separated from a way of living life. We are to spend our days in the Light of Tabor shining from the Divine Godhead and seeing our lives ahead by that great light. We learn to trust in our superior, and our superior is bowed under the weight of his office which can only be held up by our trust and community spirit. Divinity, then, is a superior discipline to Theology, and it is one that all Christians should study regardless of their academic capabilities.

Sadly, the ACC is too tiny for a seminary in this country. Yet a seminary education is of greater value  than divorcing ourselves from reality within a modern Theological College especially at a time when students think that it's okay to "experiment" with liturgy to the extent that it is willing to try out blasphemies rather than submit to the rule of the Liturgy. A seminary education that involves study intrinsically interwoven with prayer and work will therefore prove invaluable as it restores the sense of the sacred.

It is the sense of sanctity that we need to recover in our Society. The Liberal Agenda can only hold that nothing is sacred which is contrary to any understanding of the Holy Incarnation of Our Lord. The result of the Liberal Agenda is an incipient Arianism or, even worse, Ebionitism which focuses only on the humanity of Jesus and forgets about the Divine nature that comes inseparably with His Human Nature. Holiness, Love, and Worship are not feelings; they are activities wrapped up in realities in this strange synthesis between being and doing.

That there exist Christian Dogmata that cannot be genuinely questioned by Christians without calling one's own faith into question defies the Liberal Agenda. To question whether there is a god is fine in philosophical circles, or even in a study of comparative religion, but to call the existence of God into question before His face shows that there is a doubt within that Christian that needs to be addressed. For a Christian to call God's existence, or His commands, or His doctrine into question demonstrates a spiritual dis-ease that requires healing through prayer, work and study within a loving community. It is not to be accepted as a legitimate alternative to "the way we do things." It is certainly not "progress" unless by progress we mean proximity to Hell itself.

As I say, we in the ACC have no seminary. The best we can do is read for our orders under the guidance of the Bishop and then look to see how we can live our faith in a little community of people who do actually believe what they read in the Liturgy. It is not ideal, but we talk with each other and listen to each other. If the time comes when we finally have the resources for a seminary, I shall be most pleased to support it as best I can with what personal capacities I can. However, our size does not prevent us from striving to study Divinity rather than some useless academic discipline which seeks to tear the Church apart.

Until then, I continue to pray: Suscipe me, Domine, secundum eloquium tuum, et vivam,. et non confundas me ab expectatione mea.

Monday, March 20, 2017

In Praise of Forward in Faith

I rather feel that I need to right a perceived wrong that I may have done members of Forward in Faith in my recent postings. The fact of the matter is that I do have an enormous respect of this organisation within the CofE, and I wish to assure FiF readers of this blog that they have a cherished place in my thinking - a place that they don't have within the CofE. I know that Fr Chadwick and other members of the ACC in this country agree with me. For me, they represent the Church within a "Church" which is being predominantly swayed by the liberal agenda. It is this Liberal Agenda that FiF are battling, and it is worth seeing it for what it is.

Let us begin with a couple of quotations from Arch-Liberal Fr Jonathan Clatworthy:
Liberal theology, therefore, does accept that people should be free to believe whatever they judge true. However the freedom comes with two limitations.  
 1) It does not follow that they should be free to act on their beliefs.  
 2) They have no right to be left unmolested in their beliefs, as though they transcended all reason. If others find them incredible or harmful, the right to hold them comes with a duty to justify them.
And
To be liberal, inclusive and tolerant do not just mean that anything goes, or that we agree with everyone. They mean we care about truth enough to challenge dogmas; and we care enough about other people to stand up against exclusion and intolerance.
It is clear that the theology that Clatworthy is building up is a purely man-made academic exercise. I have already challenged his deeply concerning statements about "everything being up for discussion". The fundamental mistake he is making is that Theology is NOT Philosophy. It is not an intellectual-exercise along the lines of the Greek thinkers that St Paul encountered at the Areopagus who "spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing."

Theology begins and ends in God Himself. The Bible is the Testament of God's personal revelation of Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to His people the Church. Every word of Holy Scripture speaks of a theological truth - that is what the Church has always said. It is part of the Vincentian Canon, and thus of a true Catholic Dogma.

Of course, all dogmata are free to be discussed at an intellectual level, but the problem is that Theology is not just an intellectual discipline. It deals with matters of faith and especially matters of salvation. The Oecumenical Councils weren't concerned with an intellectual discussion as to the natures of Our Lord: they were concerned with Salvation, and that is the one thing that matters most, that people are brought to God to be saved. The truth about the doctrine of Our Lord is therefore NOT up for discussion in theological circles. Those arguments have been made and settled by those who have come before us.

I think I'm beginning to seem a bit like the Venerable Jorge in that it's all very well and good having Philosophical discussions about theological matters, but as soon as we bring things out from the theological sphere into the philosophical sphere, we are in danger of ascribing a philosophical position with greater worth than the truths revealed to His Church by God. It seems to me that Liberals who follow Fr Clatworthy's ideas above are in danger of philosophical hubris and intellectual pride rather than dealing with the beliefs of the Church which have been questioned but proven to be true by the Church.

And this is where Forward in Faith come in. What Forward in Faith have that Fr Clatworthy doesn't seem to have is a sense of the sacred. If God reveals a truth, then one can certainly engage in philosophical inquiry about it, but if that inquiry doubts that revealed truth, then that inquiry itself is disordered and demonstrating clearly its fallen nature and need for God. The Liberal Agenda says essentially that "nothing is sacred" and thereby attempts to rob God Himself of His Infallibility and the reliability of those whom He has chosen as His witnesses. What Forward in Faith is trying to do is to bring back to an ailing and struggling institution a sense of the sacred, that which is true because it is central to Christian belief to be true. The Christian Faith does "transcend all reason" because God Himself transcends all reason.

The Liberal Agenda may "care about truth enough to challenge dogmas" but it saws off the very branch on which it sits because it denies the integrity of the framework of truth that allows it to challenge "dogmas". Does it challenge its own "dogmas" one wonders.

It seems to me that the Liberal Agenda may "care enough about other people to stand up against exclusion and intolerance" but Forward in Faith seek to lead people to inclusion and acceptance not in the light of a philosophical mushiness, but rather by bringing people to the notion of what is truly Holy, Ineffable and Sublime.

So where do I stand on the position of Forward in Faith?

I stand with them, but cannot be in communion with them while they are in communion with people who deny the sacred. I'm afraid I cannot understand how they can be in such an impaired communion, but I do trust that their intentions for doing so are well meant and that they see that this is the way to try and guide the CofE back to sanctity. If that is what they perceive God's mission to be, then they have my prayers. Part of me still wishes that they would find the ability to separate from the schismatic CofE and perhaps help the ACC and other Catholic institutions in the UK form a body of communication and eventual communion.

But I stand with them, just as I stand with all Catholics and seekers after the Catholic Faith. They have my prayers especially on Wednesdays when I am bidden to pray for the CofE and its return to Orthodoxy. Again, I issue an invitation to any members of Forward in Faith to meet the ACC at our Synod Mass at 11AM on 29th April in Central Hall, Westminster. I do stress that there are no strings attached by this invitation. I would be grateful just to get to know people engaged in the same fight against this Liberal Agenda as I am.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Concerto in the Key of Christ

Sermon for the third Sunday of Lent

Do you ever listen to concertos?

A concerto is essentially an orchestral piece of music which features one or more instrumental soloists. You’ll have heard of violin concertos such those of Bruch or Bach. However, there’s an interesting feature of piano concertos that you might not hear, first go.

In a piano concerto, the strings will be busying themselves setting up all the themes that the piano is going to play, and the other instruments will be listening to them and ensuring that they play the same notes. And then the piano will come in. And the first few chords sound awful! Why’s that?

[PAUSE]

Violins can vary their tuning very carefully and adjust their tone so that the music can sound brighter or duller. Most of the other instruments can do the same. The piano can’t. It has fixed tuning – it can only play the notes that it’s been made to play. It can’t sharpen, nor flatten.

The result is called dissonance and it takes a few chords for the rest of the orchestra to adjust. Dissonance is not just something that orchestras have to deal with. We have to deal with it too.

[PAUSE]

Dissonance often occurs in our lives when what we believe does not match up with reality. The Pharisees know how to cast out demons. They see Our Lord Jesus casting out demons. Jesus is not a Pharisee, therefore He cannot be casting demons out by the power of God. Hence, Jesus must be a servant of the Devil. Perfect logic!

Except…

Except Jesus has much better logic than the Pharisees. If Satan casts out Satan, how can evil ever hope to succeed? Yes, it could be a ploy, a pretence to get people to believe, but look at what Jesus is doing. Does it look Satanic? All those healings. All those words that preach the love of all people, even enemies. How can any of that building up of the human race be diabolical in origin? The Pharisees are faced with the noise of their own dissonance. They have a choice, adjust their thinking, or stop the tune that Our Lord’s love plays.

[PAUSE]

Our Lord speaks the truth because He is the Truth. Those who accuse Christians of wishful thinking don’t see that Our Lord has stern words to say about the behaviour of Christians. He does not hesitate to call people up on sin. His note sounds a dissonance in our lives and we are faced with a choice.

[PAUSE]

You see, the dissonance doesn’t come from Jesus. It comes from our being out of tune with God’s reality. We are actually out of tune with ourselves. The more we listen to Jesus, the more we will hear how out of tune we are. Repentance involves a listening to our lives, and then an active step to retune our thinking, our speaking, our acting and our living to the perfect note that God sounds in creation like the ringing of a beautiful clear bell.

[PAUSE]

As we progress through Lent, we read and pray and listen ever more carefully, not just to God but to our own response to Him. We need to listen to ourselves as well because if we don’t then we will hear the dissonance and believe that it is coming from elsewhere. Lent is as much a listening to ourselves as it is to God.

Christian integrity means doing things in tune with God and with others. There are many gorgeous harmonies, but the rules of classical music state that every dissonance must end in harmony. Likewise, if we are part of the kingdom of God, then we will not try to divide it if we seek to be in tune with Him.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

29th April: a Jubilee for the ACC!

The Anglican Catholic Diocese of the United Kingdom was Twenty Five years old on 24th January this year. Our celebrations will centre around two events this year, namely our Synod High Mass at 11AM on April 29th at Central Hall Westminster, and hopefully with the visit to the UK by our Archbishop, Dr Mark Haverland later in the year.

All are very welcome to join us for the Synod High Mass. You will be able to meet us, see what we are about, and hopefully see that, even if you do not wish to join us or even disagree with us, that we are Christians nonetheless, praying for you and seeking to find some way of sharing God's grace with you.

The Diocese was founded in this country after the CofE made the decision to ordain women. Now, let me be perfectly clear. It was not the ordination of women, per se that created the need for the Diocese of the United Kingdom. As our statement of on Church unity makes clear:
It is popularly supposed that the matter which has brought the former Anglican Communion into such division and disarray is the ordination of women. That is not the case. The ordination of women has been merely the occasion, not the cause, of most of the splits within Anglicanism: the straw that broke the camel's back. The fundamental cause has been a crisis of authority within Anglicanism, having its origins in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century and the tensions of the Elizabethan “Church Settlement.” Formed a thousand years earlier, the Church of England emerged from the Protestant Reformation as a “Continuing Catholic” Church, not as a Protestant sect. However under the terms of the Elizabethan “Settlement” the Church of England, whilst maintaining all the essentials of Catholic Faith and Apostolic Order, was required by State Law to accommodate all the Queen’s subjects within it, whether Catholic or Protestant or both. From this tenuous arrangement, wrought in the religious and political crises of the time, was developed a “comprehensive” church polity. There are those who refer to this characteristic as “the glorious comprehensiveness of Anglicanism,” sometimes adding: “As long as you believe in God, we have room for you.”
Recent developments in the CofE demonstrate clearly that this is not true. Any form of comprehensiveness is now an illusion. It really does vindicate the decision that we made back in 1992 to leave the CofE to the consequences of its decision, leaving it to flourish as it would want to flourish without us battling the inevitable at every turn. While we wish Forward in Faith well in its attempt to keep this comprehensiveness alive, we are necessarily sceptical and feel that events have, very regrettably, proved us right. We hate passionately the hurt that is being cause to all parties here: the traditionalists and the progressives. male and female CofE clergy, the individuals and the whole corporation of the CofE. Honestly, we pray to God for a holy resolution to this whole situation.

In commenting on Bishop North's withdrawal from the See of Sheffield, I was accused of trying to recruit members of Forward in Faith to the ACC. I rather deny this, given that I was investigating several options that a Catholic member of the CofE might take. Yet I would be dishonest if I did not include the ACC as an option. We exist to be what the Church of England was and what we believe it should be. We are an alternative to the CofE in that every Catholic in the CofE can recognise what we are doing, and yet can rest assured that we do not believe that we can develop as an organisation apart from the Doctrine of the Primitive Church.

If you attend, you will find a motley crew of clergy and laity of all sorts. You will find our best attempt at the High Mass. You will meet our Bishop and be able to hear his charge to our Diocese. You will be able to ask us why we are here, and hear our stories and how we see our position in this tiny little Church.

This is why I bring to the attention of my readers the Synod Mass this year. Of course, it issues a big challenge to us in the ACC to examine ourselves, particularly this Lent, to see if we are ready to engage with new people, to discuss peacefully, respectfully, and lovingly with people with whom we might passionately disagree. We therefore beg your prayers that we may bring the love of Christ to you and to all who would meet us. Even if you don't want to join us, it will be good to become friends and establish good contacts.

11AM on 29th April at Central Hall, Westminster. Just come and see!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Church versus Society: pre-Constantinian idols?

In thinking about the plight of the CofE, the question arises about the relationship that the Church should have with Society in general. At the time when the English Church was wresting itself away from the jurisdiction of the Holy Father, it seems that Church and Society were virtually synonymous, and that the Church of England was supposed to be the moral lung of Society.

History tells a different story. The rise of Constantine effectively raised the possibility of Christianity being the Imperial religion following three centuries of persecution and marginalisation. There is a good historical precedent for Christianity not to be identical with Society, but rather an actor on Society's stage. Society is now regarded as being necessarily secular in order to provide a harmonious arena in which people of all faiths and none can function together. It was not always so and, indeed, Christian was seen in the third century as inimical to the "secular" age in which indigenous gods and cults were brought together in some form of syncretist literal pantheon in which everyone could perform the necessary societal customs of sacrificing to the right god but perhaps referring to that god by a socially acceptable name, especially if that god happened to be the Roman Emperor. Christians refused to recognise this because we have always believed that there is One God and that these other "gods" are nothing but empty anthropomorphisms of elements of Creation. We cannot, and will not, sacrifice to idols, even today.

Do we sacrifice to idols in today's society?

It does seem that we're going back to the pre-Constantinian idea of Church. When I joined the ACC six years ago, I attended Mass in the Dartford Mission of St Mary and St Eanswythe. It is little more than an upper room and attended by as few as two people, much the same number of congregation as the parish that I have left. The last supper was held in an upper room, so there is precedent for that as well. Yet, for me, that Mission represents something quite incredible and I remember those first breaths that I took as, for the first time for years, I opened my mouth to say the Liturgy that I had been prohibited from saying.

Why had I been so prohibited? Simply because that the State Church in my area did not feel that it could offer a Mass of such an older form on the grounds that it did not reach out to people in Society. The words of centuries were not being translated so much as being simplified at the cost of the true and deeper meaning so that more people might be persuaded to come through the door. It was necessary for the CofE to react to the changes in Society in order to continue serving that Society.

Much of the controversies in which the CofE has become embroiled are the result of injustices in Society. As an Anglican Catholic, I can understand how, in trying to address issues of injustice to women, the Church can be tempted to change doctrine. Likewise, in trying to deal with the injustice done to homosexuals and an institutionalised loneliness, it's clear how the Church is tempted to consider redefining marriage. Yet, what we have forgotten is that these problems did not arise in the Church, but arose from Society.

Often the Church has the issue of slavery thrown up when it is called to think about issues of social controversy. The charge is that the Church supported the whole idea of slavery. This is not true. For starters, one of my patrons St Anselm opposed the British Slave Trade for "in 1102, at a church council in St. Peter's church, Westminster, he obtained the passage of a resolution against the practice of selling men like cattle." ("Lives of Saints", Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.). In the Eighth Century, the wife of King Clovis II, St Bathilde actively campaigned against slavery.  Pope Paul III pronounced against slavery in 1537. Again, it is capitulation to Society that has found Churchmen associated with the slave trade, not in its doctrine.

The idols offered by Society now are found in its ideologies and political theories, especially the Critical Theory of Marx, and they are worshipped very literally by giving them a worth that they do not deserve. 

Let me be clear, there are many good things about the ideologies that are around today, but they can only be good when they are taken in accordance with what is truly good, i.e. God. Feminism has raised the issue that women have been relegated to a second class citizen status, they have been paid less, they have not been allowed to participate fully in society. It, quite rightly, has fought for the equality of women and men under law, and seeks to ensure that they have as much respect and recognition for what they do as their male counterparts. Yet to take Feminism too far raises issues of false equality - that of the complete interchangability of male and female or, in a more radical form, the dominance of women over men. This over-extension cannot true. Men and women are different. The driving force behind Feminism must not be an idolised goal, but the love of neighbour that comes from following Christ. This is where the Church parts company with secularity: no -ism can displace the Doctrine that the Church has received. Yet, where the Church parts company with a  popular "-ism", we hear the cry of "DISCRIMINATION!"

The Church has rightly been accused of discrimination in the past along with Society in this relegation and invalidation of the female sex, but in putting these injustices right, the Church cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. That's how the problems of the Reformation started and look at the result of that! 

We sacrifice to the idol of a Societal Ism when we change our Doctrine to suit that Ism. We say "Oh Jesus must have held our Ism" and then perform acts of eisegesis in order to support our view that Our Blessed Lord held our philosophical viewpoint.

Now that the Church is back to its pre-Constantinian position with Society placing demands on our philosophical understanding of what is, it is all the more important that we recognise our part as dissenters from the rule of the Secular. We do indeed need to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's - there's no point in being anti-social for the sake of it. However, everything we do, every action we perform must bear witness to Society that we are ruled not by its demands for everybody living peacefully together, but by a complete devotion to the Triune God who bids us seek to live peacefully with each other in a deeper, purer and more charitable sense. When Church and Society differ, we must stand up and refuse to sacrifice to idols, but to do so without forgetting the Divine Mandate and making our sacrifices to Him alone.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Changing your title for someone else's

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent

A brown envelope with a crown on it plops through your letter box. It looks terribly official. You have to fill out one of those important forms, and it looks like if you fill it out dishonestly, you might be breaking the law. What are you going to put for your title? Mr? Mrs? Dr? Dame? Or St?

Are you ready to put St as your title? Try it now. How does it sound?

[PAUSE]

The fact of the matter is that anyone who is a member of the Church is precisely that – a saint! Yet, none of us would dare put that as our title on official forms, would we? It makes us uneasy. It sounds presumptuous, over-confident, holier-than-thou. We also feel that if we possess the title of St, then we have a lot to live up to.

Well, we do have a lot to live up to!

As he writes to the Church in Thessalonika, St Paul is concerned with sanctification. The word literally means to become holy, to become a saint. St Paul says, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication; that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour”. God wants us to be saints!

For St Paul, sanctification and justification (being made right with God) are practically the same thing. In writing to the Corinthians (the first time, before they got stroppy with him), St Paul says,
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
We are washed through the waters of baptism where we are forgiven our sins. We receive the Holy Ghost who sanctifies us and gives us faith by which we can be justified. When we are washed, our eyes are cleansed too and we can see the extent of evil in our lives that we have been committing almost unknowingly. Yet as we receive the Holy Ghost through baptism, and have His influence in us fanned into flame by our confirmation, we are separated from these sins and thus, as our faith becomes ever stronger and stronger, so do we become ever more and more capable of being righteous in Jesus Christ. We become perfected through our co-operation with His grace.

St Paul is saying to us that we should be what we are – Saints! We should not act like evil doers because, if we are evil doers, then we can’t be saints!

[PAUSE]

Of course, we still do tend to sin, even after our baptism and confirmation, and the other sacraments. Neither baptism not confirmation can be repeated – you don’t get a second shot! They don’t need to be repeated. St John reminds us that, through these sacraments, we have been given within ourselves that stream of Living Water by Our Lord. Our duty, during Lent, is to reach into that Living Water, to drink deeply and wash ourselves anew. We need also to look and see the ways in which we can block that holy stream from welling up within us. Forgiveness is readily available to simply anyone who turns to Our Lord Jesus Christ – no exceptions!

[PAUSE]

However, we must remember. St is not a title – at least it does not belong to us and we certainly can never be worthy of it. St can only ever point to God. We are only truly sanctified if we live our lives responding willingly to the Holy Ghost. It is His work in us that can sanctify us. All we have to do is turn to Him and say, “yes!” to whatever He has in mind for us.

You are washed, you are sanctified and justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Do you still feel awkward in putting a St in front of your name? Why’s that?