Weekly Newsletter(click to download PDF)
Solemn First Vespers and Benediction(click to download PDF)
The Rector writes ...
Saint Thomas Aquinas famously offers five “proofs” for the existence of God. His argument is that any human person using their normal antennae can come to an understanding of their Maker. By looking around at the beauty and complexity of the creation, and by pondering the reactions and longings of one’s own heart, it is possible for anyone of good will and open mind to conclude that there is a God. In a way, though, that is where the problems begin! If we accept that a Creator does exist we then want to find out as much as we can about his nature, and that search can take us down strange paths and into even stranger cul de sacs. I remember as a sixth former, an English teacher (just down from university) who was convinced that the only way in which the contradictions of this world could be explained was by positing a vindictive God. Although religious indifference appears to be a common factor in Western societies, it does us well to remember that the overwhelming majority of our brothers and sisters throughout the world (well over ninety per cent) claim some kind of faith allegiance and that questions about who and what God is will not go away.
It would seem that for most people the questioning is not so much as to the reality of God but whether anything meaningful can be known or said about him. Confronted by the phenomenon of a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6), Moses asked who it was that was calling to him . The answer he received “I AM” is the beginning of a process of self-revelation which, Christians believe, leads towards its ultimate expression in Jesus. As Pope Paul V1 reminded the people of the Philippines on his pastoral visit to them: “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He reveals the invisible God; he is the first born of all creation, the foundation of everything created. He is the teacher of mankind, and its redeemer. He was born, he died, and he rose again for us. He is the centre of history and of the world”.
Jesus could say of himself “to have seen me is to have seen the Father” (John 14:9). If he is truly the human face of God, the ultimate expression in time and space of the Godhead, then what does he reveal about that Godhead? Saint John, the disciple closest to the heart of Jesus, sums it up: ”God is love”. We often interpret those words (correctly) as an impetus to charity: just as God loves so we are called to express loving concern for one another – “someone who does not love the brother and sister they can see cannot love the God they have never seen” (1 John 4:21). But Jesus’s words also reveal the deepest motivation within the being of God. In a Pentecost sermon Benedict XV1 realised this most profound of all truths: “in Jesus Christ, God himself was made man and allowed us, so to speak, to cast a glance at the intimacy of God himself. And there we see something totally unexpected. The mysterious God is not infinite loneliness: he is an event of love. The Son who speaks to the Father exists, and they are both one in the Spirit, who constitutes the atmosphere of giving and loving which makes them one God”.
Christian faith believes and teaches: “one God and Father, from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit, in whom all things are” (Council of Constantinople:360). This diversity existing in a perfect unity of love. which the Godhead has revealed of itself. is rooted in our own experience through the life of prayer and the sacraments: “we will come to you, and make our home in you” (John 14:23). The Carmelite mystic, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity says it for us: “O my unchanging God may each new minute bring me more deeply into your mystery. Grant my soul peace: make it your heaven, your dwelling, the place of your rest”