Weekly Newsletter(click to download PDF)
The Rector writes ...
I hate shaving. The discomfort of twenty minutes taken out of each day is only alleviated by listening to the radio. On a recent morning, having had enough of John Humphries sharing his prejudices with the nation, I turned to the world service and listened to an absorbing piece on the future of communication. In a generation or so, it is envisaged that everything that happens during a person's entire life will be the subject of record: literally from cradle to grave every moment will be there for instant recall because it has been caught on video (or whatever the technology might then be). The mind does begin to boggle at the notion of each moment of one’s individual history – every word and every deed – being there open to review. Many of us are quiet content to leave at least parts of our history firmly in the past but for a coming generation past and present (and perhaps future too) will co-exist in a previously unimaginable symbiosis. Quite a large thought on which to reflect while shaving!
This Sunday we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross through which we are reminded that Calvary is the turning point of all human history: everything, the aeons of time, from the first glimmer of creation, was leading up to this particular event, just as everything subsequently is a recapitulation of what took place there (moving towards to its necessary consequence which will be the final revelation of Christ and the completion of his Father’s Kingdom). The Catechism says: “to God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy”. We are creatures gifted with imagination …we are capable of dreaming dreams and seeing visions … but, at least at is this stage in the development of our skills, we are limited within time and space. The Psalmist reminds us that: “the years of our life are threescore years and ten or even by reason of strength four score” and though we can now add a decade or two to that total, it is still true that our span on earth has a “terminus ad quem”. But to God there is no such constraint: he is the Alpha and Omega of everything that exists, and to his omniscience the unfolding story of the creation is wholly transparent for “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
God’s over-arching grandeur meets the parameters of our human imagining in the celebration of the Eucharist. Saint John Vianney could say: “If we really understood the Mass we would die of joy”, and it is our precious belief that whenever the Lord’s commandment is fulfilled we are lifted out of present realities in such a way that we are enabled to participate in what is being commemorated. The living memorial of the Lord’s Passion which stands at the heart of each Mass cuts away time and space and – if we can speak in this way – enables us to see past events and their present consequences from God’s vantage point. Scripture makes the incredible assertion that “we are those who have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:6) and the Eucharistic action therefore becomes intelligible in a fresh way when viewed through our Saviour’s eyes. Saint Thomas Aquinas once wrote: “the celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross”, which is a jaw-dropping statement until one realises that the Eucharist is the Paschal Mystery not repeated but re-presented – the one-off redemptive action transcending time, and entering our own space.All this is by way of reminding everyone that enrolment for the new sacramental programmes is underway. If you are an adult wanting Baptism or reception into the Catholic Church, or a teenager ready for the Sacrament of Confirmation, or a parent whose child should be prepared for First Holy Communion, then please complete and return the appropriate form as soon as possible, and by the first weekend in October at the latest. Catechesis – the handing on of the Faith – is central to the Church’s life, and is the condition of its future. ”The teacher has the wonderful but difficult task of joining loving hearts, the hearts of the Lord and his people” (Pope Francis)