Current Members of The Holy Synod

Current members of The Holy Synod of The Anglocatholic Church are (from left): Metropolitan Archbishop Glentis G. Samuel; Patriarch Dr. Heigo Ritsbek; Bishop David Smith; and Bishop Paul J. Boardman Jr.

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New Consecrated Bishops in the United States

Here on the photo from left: His Beatitude Patriarch Dr. Heigo Ritsbek with two new consecrated bishops – His Excellency Paul Jacob Boardman, Jr. and His Excellency Mathew Enoch Mount.

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Solemn Mass on The Feast of Assumption of Virgin Mary in France

On Tuesday, August 15h, there was The Solemn Mass in Croisannville, France at The Archdiocese of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces, celebrating The Great Feast of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God. The Celebrant was His Eminence Archbishop Raphael Marie Villiere, he was assisted by Archbishop His Eminence Leonid Achard.

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Anglocatholic Church has fifteen bishops in the World

Currently The Anglocatholic Church has fifteen bishops: Patriarch Dr. Heigo Ritsbek (Estonia); Metropolitan Archbishop Glentis G. Samuel (Canada); Archbishop Emmanuel Kwasi Mensah (Ghana); Archbishop Martin Pius Kelly (Ireland); Archbishop Krzysztof Nieciag (Poland); Archbishop Leonid Achard (France); Archbishop Raphael Marie Villiere (France); Bishop Raivo Kodanik (Estonia); Bishop Jeffrey Pangilinan Orellana (Philippines); Bishop Y. Charles Bose (India); Bishop Paul Jacob Boardman, Jr (USA); Bishop Mathew Enoch Mount (USA); Bishop David Smith (Canada); Bishop Jean Claude Normand (France); Bishop Mar William’s Mariam (Cameroon).

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Sermon by Bishop David Smith

Homily The Eighth Sunday after Trinity The Holy Synod 2017
+ In Nomine.
THE ANCIENT COLLECT appointed for today’s liturgy
continues the traditional theme of the season of Trinity, living the Law of
Love. It places life in Christ directly under the sheltering wings of divine
providence, in a process of taking up the Cross and following Jesus. This
divine ordering is a kind of fatherly shepherding that never fails to balance
the trials of earthly existence. The divine action of our behalf is described as
removing us far from things hurtful and giving things profitable. As followers
of Jesus, we do believe this to be the case but the pressing question is this –Is
this our experience as the reality of life or is this just a facile oft-repeated
theoretical construct that comes easily to our lips? If we do live this truth, this
is indeed admirable. However I suspect that, for most of us, theory and
practice have yet to come together in quasi-perfect harmony. Is God the
problem? Assuredly not! Thus, the question before us may be phrased in this
way How meaningful is our spiritual practice? – both individually and within
the one body of Christ, His church spread over the whole world? At issue is
the discovery of optimal ways of finding and maintaining this way of being
in but not of the world, of finding in human existence a living dynamic and
not a theorem, of making this way of being a proper and effective path to a
living and vital communion with God. Paul would put it this way ‘ to be led
by the Spirit of God, ‘ led on the path from faith and hope along a divinely
driven adoption as sons who are formed anew as heirs and joint-heirs with
Christ that they may appropriately come to share in His glory.
The issue for people of faith comes into focus as a gradually emerging
concept of being, a being that is not defined by ‘ fighting the good fight ‘ nor
by living the good life as supreme moral and ethical exercises that easily
become ends in themselves. Nor is it to be understood as an expression of
cultic observance nor of doctrinal correctness, although all of the above are
accomplishments of real and lasting value. I put it to you that it is rather
achieved only by a continual process of coming to share in our Lord’s
passion, that ultimate expression of His willingness to make Himself small
before His Father, even to the point of the dissolution of His earthly life as a
man. The Carmen Christi embedded in Philippians 2 should inspire us to
submit to God our Father in a way that echos our blessed Lord’s 2
paradigmatic example. His mind was emptied of ego, so fully absorbed into
the Father’s being through humble obedience that the prize of the
‘ upward call of God ‘Philippians 3 . 14 was His desired mode of being. We too
must, with Paul and with all the saints, ‘ forget what lies behind and strain
forward to what lies ahead, ‘ 3 . 13 moving inexorably towards our citizenship
which is in heaven from where, with expectation, we look for our Saviour.
Can we effect this transformation and achieve this altered way of being? If
we answer this question with Yes, then two other questions follow directly –
Will we? and When will we? If we through grace are moved by the Spirit to
follow Christ along the Via Dolorosa, then it is imperative that we follow His
perfect example by changing how we live. Now, perhaps this idea needs a
certain adjustment. The exact path of this transformation will have a certain
individual character that speaks of each unique life journey. However, this
essential modification cannot change – the necessity of relocating the
wellspring of a life away from the demands of the ego that finds its willful
self-expression in the passions driven as they are by the elemental spirits of
the earth, moving it toward a manner of life springing up from the divine
implanting of the Spiraculum Vitae, Genesis 2 . 7 the formative divine breath
that makes the path of suffering into the gate of a fuller life, a life not bound
by the illusory demands of time, change and the body. Those moved to elect
this journey along the road less travelled will begin to discover as they work
for true person-hood (as opposed to distinctive individuality) that being alive
becomes about communion stirred up in us by the love of the Father,
expressed in the Son and sustained by the firey Spirit Who leads us into all
truth. If we permit ourselves to undertake this journey that heightens our
ability to do the Father’s will at an ontological level in the core of our very
being, we will find that we obey the ideas presented in the famous Shaker
song titled Simple Gifts ‘ Turn, turn, turn till you come down right. Then you
will be in the valley of love and delight. ‘ Where is this valley to be found but
in the Heart of the One Who is love, light and life for all His creation.
The corpus of our sacred Scripture delights in placing before us
contrasting couplets – life and death, light and darkness, good and evil, the
Lord Jehovah and the gods of the peoples, to name but a few. In so doing, the
question, indeed the necessity of choice is kept ever before us. The couplets
point towards the desirable goal of life and length of days as we dwell in the
land. Deuteronomy 30 . 15ff or through the wrong choice ‘ perish. ‘ I urge you 3
to note that the first requisite is the goal of a desirable mode of being in
relationship with the Creator extended into relationship with all creation,
especially our fellow humans, friend and foe alike. From this formative
principle flow out other essentials for a life well lived – moral attainment,
desirable accomplishments, health of mind and body, and peace of spirit. Our
pattern is clearly the perfect relationship that is the life of God as Father, Son
and Spirit lived as a perfect unified outflow of selfless love and service
within the Trinity, which love overflows as creation. In the one body of
Christ we experience this as ecclesial being nourished by the eucharistic
celebration that is at the heart of the mysteries entrusted to holy Church. This
mystery does not exist for its own sake but is the very life that we recognize
in ourselves as ‘ a new birth, ‘ new responsibility in the theatre of the world. 2
Corinthians 5 . 17, 18 Thus, in our newness of being, we will experience an
eschata that is at the same time both history and a sharing in the divine
essence effected before the great altar on high in the presence of the Father
and the Lamb, where we come to join our earthly worship with that of the
heavenly host. Our debt or obligation to God is then a life in the spirit, or
perhaps in a spirit of dual witness where our spirit works in communion
through suffering that effects in us a ‘ circumcision of the heart. ‘ Deuteronomy
30 .6 / Romans 2 . 29 . However, dear brothers in Christ, if we are willing to be
honest with ourselves and to look around us at the Church throughout the
world, we must come to the regrettable conclusion that she has suffered
failure in communicating this salvific message and in living it in a way that
permits the kingdom of the Father to spread again on earth. It seems that she
has become one of those false prophets disguised in sheep’s clothing. It seems
that in her quest for self preservation and status rather than transformation by
doing the will of the Father, she has harvested not grapes or figs but thorns
and thistles as she plaintively cries ‘ Lord, Lord. ‘ She has courted the world
by watering down the the deposit of the faith, by neglecting the practice of
deep prayer, by misconstruing the works of the law for its healing spirit, by
ruling rather than serving and by seeking to preserve her own life rather than
revealing the life of Jesus. She has laid up treasures only where moth and rust
corrupt and there set her heart. She has rent the one Body of the church in
sunder and failed to work for Jesus’ desired unity in the faith. The fruit of this
trend is evident in empty churches, in the spiritual bankruptcy of modernism,
in the escalation of senseless violence and the building up of unbridled 4
prejudice. She has failed to truly and deeply love finding the face of Christ in
all she meets. She stands judged by her Lord Who passes sentence
‘ How can you believe when you accept glory from one another
and do not seek glory from the One Who alone is God? ‘ John 5 . 44
Yet, Deo gratias, all is not lost! We can still fill our lamps with oil and
trim their wicks for in the compassionate heart of our loving God, in the
healing streams from that pierced side, we have the promise of restoration
and renewal if we but come to that sacred wound. And fortunately we can
return to His side as often as necessity dictates. You see, the onus for
initiation of action is on us but the real working out, that is for the grace of
God! We need to turn and come down in the place just right! Holy Church
and every believer within her must rediscover the delight of communion with
God as they eschew the blandishments and tinsel temptations of this world.
In a sense then, our scripture passages are household codes for successful life
in the one Body, the Ecclesia of Christ that is the new Israel of God. In the
gospel passage, the good and bad trees bring us right back to the motif of
correct choice opened in the reading from Deuteronomy and further back to
Eden. We need to cultivate a hermenuetic of suspicion in evaluating both the
effectiveness of holy Church, the witness of prophecy and even the
fruitfulness of our lives, viewing them only through the filter of suffering,
death and the desired transformation modelled on the perfection of Jesus that
leads us to the only good – communion with God as the true reality,
communion displayed in humble service. So now, our moral and ethical
practices may be re-interpreted in light of Christ – to love God totally, which
love must include all His work in creation, means being transformed by a
love that changes others for the good. It means becoming ministers of the
nature of God displayed in His self definition, the 13 Aspects of Mercy
revealed to Moses when he received the new tablets of the Law. Exodus 34 . 6
-,7 Surely in this ministry we will receive that spirit of adoption that we so
earnestly desire and not the spirit of bondage. The Spirit of Jesus will be
visible in us when, and only when, we become ministers of the life of Jesus,
when we, as was His practice, seek the absolute triumph of the Father’s will
in earth as it is in heaven. This is our only evangelical tool, the tool of divine
justice. Perhaps, the kingdom is, from our point of view, our earthly
practicum, that focus of earthly life that was presented in last week’s 5
passage from Romans 3 as ‘ living unto God, ‘ living from the One Mind, the
one heart of compassion, living as willing to remove our outer garments, fill
a basin with water, and kneel before the least of our brethren, to wash from
their feet the grime of earthly existence, which act is to anoint the feet of our
blessed Lord with costly ointment. and to wipe them dry with the hairs of our
head. Matthew 26 6ff
To become a church, a gathering of His body for witness and not a
successful institution as measured by corporate standards, we must not be
afraid to get our hands dirty while at the same time we must not fear a
counter-cultural spirituality that brings us no kudos because it is grounded in
a selfless love in which the world can find no value. When at life’s end, we
come to stand before the judgement seat, may we not hear ‘ You of little faith,
why did you doubt. ‘ Matthew 14 . 31 Life is about tumultuous waves stirred by
the winds of the demand for constant change. If we submit to this we no
doubt will begin to sink! What must be our plea but ‘ Lord, bid me come to
You. ‘ v. 28. And, what will we hear but a gentle voice that whispers ‘ Take
heart, it is I; Do not be afraid. ‘ v. 27 We need no gimmicks and trendy slogans,
no clever new message fit for the modern world! We need to make our lives a
living confession of ‘ Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Then He will give us
a new name as He places us upon the firm rock from which we must never
depart,on which we share with Peter in his confession the strength of a name
‘ Son of the Dove ‘ =Bar-Jona. Jerome : Libro 3 Commentarium in Matthaeum
Capitulum 16 Stir up O Lord the wills of Thy faithful people.
+ In Nomine.

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Next Meetings

The next meeting of The Holy Synod of The Anglocatholic Church is planned to be in Toronto, Canada June 27 – 30, 2019. The next Conclave of The College of Bishops will be in 2021, exact date and place not yet determined.

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Lecture by Canon David Smith – THE ABSOLUTE TRANSCENDENCE OF GOD

Let me begin by introducing to you a cleric who devoted his life and
ministry to the work of uncovering the meaning of and purpose of the Divine
Liturgy. This cleric was Amalarius of Metz, Archbishop of Trier
approximately between the years 811 to 816. His express goal was to effect
within European Christendom a unity of liturgical observance based on the
model of the ancient traditions of the Roman see, a practice that was more
austere and pure than that of the developing northern liturgies. His scholarly
praxis was stimulated by a Carolingian royal decree issued by Charlemagne,
the Admonitio Generalis of 789. This decree required the bishops of the
empire to ensure that their priests understood their liturgical roles, the content
of the prayers and the practice of and rationale behind the liturgical actions
performed. His work was rooted in a passionate understanding of the totality
of Liturgy as Praedicatio, that is, Preaching. No doubt, he was informed by
Paul’s proclamation to Timothy ‘ I solemnly urge you : Proclaim the
message : be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable;
convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. ‘2
Timothy 4 . 2 This evangelical mission that informs the very way that holy
Church operates in her liturgy finds its roots in the biblical texts and in the
emerging traditions established by the authors and compilers of our liturgical
corpus. Amalarius believed that this work of the church began with our
Lord’s solemn command enshrined at the heart of the Canon of the Mass ‘ As
often as you do this, you do it in memory of Me.’ Luke 22 . 19b Many might
adopt a different approach, one that is primarily confessional and secondarily
historical and thus would echo Paul in Philippians 2 . 11 where he writes ‘
every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father. ‘ To this they would add the moral and ethical practice appropriate to
the new kingdom reality. Today, I would like to use Amalarius’ concept as my
point of departure. If this be a good starting point, then we must bring in to a
working relationship memory and practice – the memory of the communion 2
of the Last Supper interpreted as an act of divine spiritual providence, a
feeding with super-substantial food as Jerome’s Vulgate reads Panem
nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie. Matthew 6 . 11 This text
alternatively rendered by the translators of NRSV reads ‘ our bread for
tomorrow ‘ thus giving it an eschatological bearing, points toward the
influence of the Spirit that makes of Christ the “ last Adam, “ a living being.
To this will be added the commission to minister implied in the ritual of the
washing of the feet. This exegesis I link back to Matthew’s 4th beatitude ‘
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be
filled. ‘ 5 . 6 The worship life of those who spiritually hunger after a food that
is the true Bread from Heaven will always begin with the petition voiced by
the crowd in John 6 ‘ Sir, give us this bread always. ‘ 6 . 34 Thus, their
worshipful approach to God will become a blend of eschatology, looking
ahead to the great day of the Lord joined to the practice of loving
communion, the art of living after the model of Christ, both in the world as
we know it and in that perfect template exemplified in the life of the Holy
Trinity. Both of these find their optimal realization in the Eucharist. Both
demand a careful balancing of the life of the local church with that of the
universal Body of Christ. Both demand that the oneness of the Church be
safeguarded in her systems of belief, in her worship life and in her ministry in
the theatre of the world as expressions of the one unfolding Kingdom. As the
Holy Spirit animates and directs holy Church, He points her beyond history
and beyond memory toward an understanding that may be described as
sacramental, for it straddles both the present time and the end time through
the vehicle of prayer as living, dynamic communion between Creator and
created. This vital relationship causes the church as institution to seek her
existence in the reality to be found between Christ Who institutes her and the
Spirit Who constitutes her.
All this has profound implications for the worship life of those who
follow Christ. It has very profound implications for bodies like ours that seek
to hold to the great traditions of the catholic faith despite the manifold
pressures to conform our way to that of a modern, soi disant enlightened
world view. We must remain faithful at all cost for we are founded on that
strong Rock that will not be moved though the winds of change and the
floods of modernism rise up and beat upon the house of faith. Matthew 7 . 24, 25
In the new life in Christ Romans 12 . 2ff we cannot be conformed by worldly 3
pressures! The only option is transformation and renewal after the already
perfect template of relationship with God our Father provided for us by our
Lord Jesus. Our model as we approach this portal that leads to the experience
of God is perfected for us in Jesus’ prayerful humility before the Father, in
His farewell Discourses and in His practice of going apart in prayer as He
invokes the Father’s will here as it is realized already in heaven. All this is
based on the sanctity of God, His absolute otherness if you will, for we must
approach His presence in fear and trembling. The mountain of God is still
cloud-capped, from it thunder still rumbles. As children of Jesus Messiah, the
new Moses, we still need the shelter of the protective cleft in the rock face.
We, like the ancient priests, must consecrate ourselves Exodus 20 . 22 or the
Lord will break out against us. In Christ, we have indeed come close to God
Who knows us by name yet we still cannot presume to behold His glory. This
transformation of attitude and practice before God is one that fuses agape and
the ecstasy of eros as we accept the gifting of grace and express it in body,
mind and spirit as love to God in our worship in the sacred liturgy. Liturgy
must be for us that place within the heart of the community and the heart of
the individual alike where dwells the acceptance of God’s love for us,
profoundly, powerfully and dynamically, dwells as the engine allowing us to
participate in the transfigured Christ Who enables us to take His Light into
the darkness of the world. This is especially significant for those called into
Holy Orders by Christ. We need to ground our worship life in such a way that
sacraments resemble in some way those things of which they are outward
signs. Here, we have an echo effect at work as our worship life is connected
authentically to its pure source at the level of integrity, of spirit above letter,
grounded in the implanted imago Dei as we render to to God those things
that are Gods and leave behind those that are Caesars. This brings me to my
real point of departure – liturgy, ‘ our work ‘ in the one body, most especially
in the sharing of communion, must begin with memory, a consideration of the
Church, the Catholica, that work of spiritual restoration made imperative by
sin, that divine work begun in Christ’s Incarnation and extended in the
Sacrifice of Calvary here interpreted as the singular work of the one Body
begun in the explosion of the Spirit’s power on the Day of Pentecost. This
finds its source in the wholeness present, though tarnished, in every believer
as the agent that welds them into one in Christ in such a way that depth of the
experience of God’s abiding presence is revealed. This worthy goal is 4
hymned in the text of Psalm 64 . 7, 8 – the LXX reads ‘ man shall come to the
heights of the heart and exalt God ‘ or if you wish the Hebrew version ‘ of the
singular thoughts in the depth of the heart. ‘ Either way, the elevation or the
immense profundity of the experience is a universal, unified motion of the
human heart that Christ brings us, that we should not appear before God
empty. Deuteronomy 16 . 16 Such a worship life should, I believe, reveal our
desire to approach as closely as possible the practice of the Church
Triumphant in heaven as it gathers before the heavenly Throne to
acknowledge the utter worthiness of our God. It must take place before that
open door in heaven Revelation 4 . 1, 2 as our response to the great voice that
cries ‘ Come up here! ‘ What I suggest is that our worship must be a
movement of ascent, a motion taking us well beyond the limiting boundaries
of our mortality, moving us to kneel in adoration before the throne of Grace.
The mystic reality of holy Church thus unites us with our unsullied past in
Eden through our common food, the flesh of the God man under the unifying
experience of the Spirit Who empowers us to bring forth fruitful increase in
the Father’s unfolding kingdom. Thus, the Church, through her priests in the
presence of all the faithful, is the constituted body through which Christ
renews on our earthly altars His divine sacrifice on Calvary carrying out the
work of redemption as He brings us into closer union with His offering upon
the heavenly Altar. So great a task, so solemn a charge, requires careful
preparation, humble, respectful performance and an aspect of constant
adoration as God in Christ brings our earthly bodies into configuration with
the Body of His glory and prevents a hardening of our minds. 2 Corinthians 3 .
12 – 4 . 2 : Philippians 3 . 21 Here, in the unity of the catholic discipline of faith
and observance, we find the value of Origen’s consonantiae disciplina, the
discipline of harmony, that is a unity but not an absolute cult of uniformity.
Thus, I put it to you that our efforts spent in worship before the throne
of God should determine the whole course of our ministry, a ministry whose
purpose is to interiorize at the level of our reality the very Mystery that is
God Almighty. Our efforts should also be determinate in the totality of our
individual lives. No less can be found acceptable! Our communion within
Christ’s one Body implies communion with His total Divine Nature, that is
with the Father and the vivifying Spirit in the unity of the Godhead. Our real
vocation, defication by grace in the totality of our being, body, soul and
spirit, is thus to be experienced in Christ where ‘ dwells all the fullness 5
of the Godhead bodily ‘ Colossians 2 . 9 in such a way that this communion with
the A ll that is renders us as Christ-bearers. Our persona must thus unite as
one before God, this union being our reasonable service. Prayer in the body
counts! Gestures, postures, even our respiration, that animating gift of the
Spirit, all aid the body as it moves the mind and soul within into a new focus,
there to join in spirit in a prayerful unity acceptable to God, a motion that
activates the mind and eyes of the heart rendering us open to the return of
communication from our God. So too, the externals of worship in their
totality within the worship space, and in all the objects which adorn the
offering of the Mass and the praying of the Offices, along with the offering of
liturgical music – all these must be ‘ the exalted house ‘ to quote Solomon’s
Prayer of Dedication of the first Temple, 1 Kings 8 . 13 that place where the
Lord God may dwell forever, for ‘ there is no God like You, our God, in
heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love. ‘ v. 23
Solomon prayed that the Lord’s eyes would be ‘ open night and day toward
this house, ‘ the place of which the Lord God said ‘ My Name shall be there. ‘
v. 29 The worship houses of the new Israel of God continue to be the places
where God’s great Name dwells. Here priests and faithful are still sealed in
the covenant relationship, albeit within the New Covenant in the blood of our
Lord and Saviour. Our worship as praise thus must be of such a quality that it
is our best attempt to approach God’s greatness and glory, to offer before the
Throne only that which is best, the most holy and perfect offering that we can
achieve. The quality of our worship must thus symbolize the kingdom of
heaven by gifting our fellow worshippers with a fore-taste of the heavenly
riches that await us. All these ideas point us toward a change of heart as the
first requisite of effective worship, worship infused with a greater sense of
recollection welling up from liturgical time and liturgical silence as the
optimal stilling of the inner voices as we sense, however tentatively, a greater
Presence, a greater Love and a greater Peace that passes normative
understanding. This spiritual activation, a lifting up of heart and mind in the
body accompanied by a transfiguration of the senses must be our goal as we
are moved by the Father past the limits of our natural body into the new
experience of the spiritual body, from the man of dust toward the goal of the
heavenly Man. 1 Corinthians 15 . 44, 49
What a challenge this presents contemporary believers and those 6
charged by God to be their shepherds! This spiritual activation must begin
with a dual cultivation – with both spiritual and liturgical formation in
parishes, in the clergy and in seminaries charged with their formation.
Perhaps I should say restoration of that which has been lost, forgotten or
wilfully set aside in the quest to woo the modern world and in the great tide
of fear engendered by the rapid decline of institutional Christianity. Benedict
XVI locates the crisis of faith which we have inherited in a crisis of liturgy,
most especially at the level of its mystic essence, as a manifest need to
rediscover tradition as a stablilizing element in a world that changes too
rapidly, that has been radically desacralized, made into a machine that is
denuded of soul and thus downgrades mystery and sacrifice in favour of an
ingrown community that celebrates itself just as it diverts itself from the
escalating repetitive banality of life and its own weltschmerz. In the corridors
of religion, we have long forgotten a salient fact – we are not the host of the
the banquet of life, God is! He alone is drawing us in to that which is other,
that profound counter-cultural reality which is a gifting sent to change the
world, not to please and entertain it, not to join its frenetic rush toward
destruction but to point towards the new Jerusalem descending from heaven
that God may again live among men and be their God.
Humans are simply more than genetics and environment. There is more
to life than these two and the tortuous out-workings of evolution. American
psychologist James Hillman offers a counter suggestion – that we are all in
search of character and calling. The Soul’s Code Random House 1996 These two
values can become for us the entry codes to an new engagement that this old
world so desperately needs, a re-engagement that is a kind of return to our
source in the God Who loves us and saves us. As he suggests this, Hillman
laments a certain lacuna in contemporary culture – the demise of the wise
elder, the custodian of a people’s inner heritage and the keeper of those values
that make for a healthy culture and vital life. The wise elder does not explain
as much as he points inward toward that which has provided the optimal
point of orientation for ages and can, when rediscovered, revivify the
wastelands of modernity’s bankruptcy. He is the gate keeper to the real
secrets, the guardian of the mysteries and the guide on the journey of
realization that Joseph Campbell calls our Hero Journey. There can be no
doubt that the modern church has willing exchanged the transcendence of
God for a god who is my best buddy and with whom I could party. It has 7
forgotten the God on Whom it is dangerous to look, Who inspires awe and
reverence. She has sought a god who can be explained by the shallow
motions of cause and effect, one who behaves predictably after the
mechanistic model of His creatures. However, transcendence cannot be
explained, only experienced and pointed towards by the opening of a
mysterious dimension that permits alternate experience and reveals the
otherness of God. This is the task of holy Church in the Sacred Liturgy .. to
move men and women well beyond the restrictive limitations of time and
space, the world and its shallow pursuits towards the water of life and the
bread of eternity, towards a fuller life grounded solidly on that Which cannot
be moved, that Whose Truth knows no end. In the Liturgy, permeated as it is
with Sacred Scripture, and founded on the spiritual, doctrinal, moral and
pastoral bedrock of holy Church bequeathed us by Christ through the
Apostles, the Fathers and the ongoing tradition of the Catholica, we have
preserved this intact as a wise elder, ready for our use. It enshrines a Code of
and Practice of Holiness demanded of us by the very nature of God, a manner
of Being that stands in dramatic contrast to a worldly mode of being both
individual and corporate. In it we gather before God’s altar for an encounter
of a non-normal dimension, an encounter designed to transform, to burn
away the earthly dross as it encourages new growth, an encounter that must,
to be authentic, be intensely related to the fire divine, that fire whose burning
does not destroy but renews. For me, as I echo Jeremiah, the key is to return.
‘ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord Thy God ‘ reads the conclusion
of the Lessons from the Lamentations of Jeremiah read at Matins in Holy
Week. We cannot sing the Lord’s song in a strange land, only before Sinai’s
cloud-capped height, only when we perform a kenotic rite, when we come
through the Red Sea waters of a Mikvah before entering the great Temple
with an acceptable sacrifice. Here, in the sacred Liturgy, performed in a way
that evokes a timeless interior reality, here is the gift that this old world so
desperately needs, here is the key to the journey of return. Of this precious
gift we are custodians, servants for a time, those who must hand it on
unsullied as a spiritual gift made by God to generations to come. The Liturgy
can never be our possession, our right and something that we may fashion as
we will! No, it is a gift for use, a tool of transformation to be used as it is in
heaven, so here on earth. As priests and bishops of God, as men who are the
new inheritors of Aaron, we must again permit God to impress us with a 8
priestly character, to stamp it upon us as we celebrate His mysteries as an
expression of God’s endless love for His creation and as a mark of our divine
calling as an order set apart in the service of His great glory. We are ministers
of Transcendence, servants of the servants of God, those who seek to live the
kenosis of our Master and we are keepers of the divine portal where mankind
can approach God appropriately. Are we prepared, called to serve God as His
ministers of the New Covenant, prepared to again become wise elders, wise
not in the worldly sense of learning and reason, but wise in the Wisdom of
God? wise as willing and able to pass on the historic deposit of our faith
unsullied? If we are able to say a resounding Yes to these questions, then, and
only then, will we not appear empty handed before our God. Ecclesiasticus 35 . 4
When we, as His ministers, can wholeheartedly endorse God with a complete
trusting belief in Him and His justice, then God will behold us with both eyes
knowing that we celebrate Him as the One Whose every way is just. Genesis
18. Then, we will give back to Him in worship imbued in spirit and in truth
that which is His alone as an echo of His greater donation to us.
The world and every earth bound soul cries out today ‘ Why are you so
heavy, O my soul? Why are you so troubled within me? ‘ Another voice cries
out ‘ Where is now your God? ‘ What is the restorative answer that we hear
and which we must offer but ‘ Hope in God. ‘ Vast numbers of people today
find our answer to be insufficient! They fail to experience something of the
otherness of our God in our ministry and especially in our worshipful
approach to Him. Our praise seems stale to them and their lack of response
has often chilled our ardour. Yet true praise welling up from the awakened
human heart unleashes a ray of heavenly light upon the implanted divine
image that reveals the nascent kingdom. Worship, when authentic and
patterned upon the greater reality above, will allow a fleeting glimpse of God
thrice Holy as He unleashes in us His energia, an appropriate sharing of His
being. This energy, an expansion of the inner procession of His love, will
give us God’s All, His Self, His Life without depleting His unreachable
Essence. Holy Church, often with the best intent, has wasted God’s trust in
her mission, and stands accused of ‘ wasting His goods ‘ Luke 16 . 1 as she
becomes a dishonest manager. She has much to learn from the children of this
age that the Parable of the Dishonest Manager suggests are wiser than the
children of light. Can we minister forgiveness above judgment, can we
lighten the burden and build up the weary in heart by bringing all who 9
labour and are heavy laden home to God’s altar? In short, can we return to
our true vocation as ministers of reconciliation? Can our worship become less
worldly and more of a union with all creation, a great symphony to the love
of a Creator whose intent is to forgive and restore with the real food of
immortality. Our prayer must become the reality of our worship life – prayer
as bringing the world into the Banqueting House as we aid God in spreading
over us the Banner of Love. Canticum Canticorum 2 . 1
This juncture where we find ourselves in the early history of our
particular church brings before us the same dilemma that Moses and Aaron
faced at the waters of Meribah Numbers 20 . 2 – 13 : in the journey to the
promised Land and in the battle for it, we must face the need for the pure
waters from the rock, we must find Moses’ rod and smite the rock face twice.
We must firmly believe and, in that belief, sanctify our congregations in the
Name of the Lord. I believe that we find this power and the accompanying
strength to accomplish God’s work as He would have it done in the very core
of our corporate existence, in the Sacred Liturgy performed in spirit and truth
as it was always intended to be.
Liturgy must be for us both our point of departure and our safe home,
that point of return from the wilderness journey of actualization. ‘ Let My
people go that they may serve Me in the wilderness ‘ Exodus 7 . 16 the Lord
said to Pharaoh thus setting the agenda for worship, that is, for appropriate
sacrifice along the life journey to the mountain of the Lord, a desert journey
ordered after the will of the Lord. A careful reading of the ancient Exodus
story reveals that that this true worship is an interior journey to the real land
of encounter with God, the activated human heart, the temple where worship,
law and ethics meet in a harmonious unified blend of freedom and mutual
obligation. This blend is driven by the desire to serve the Other, our God,
Whose intent in love is to be our Redeemer, the One Who shares with us the
existence of heaven and the worship of the angelic band. This ultimate human
offering must be a two-way street, an outflow of prayer, praise, thanksgiving
and adoration answered by a return of heavenly favour experienced within
the loop of eternity. This living relationship must be a revelation of God and
His will, a testament celebrating His willingness to relate to us, sinners as we
are, and to bring us home. Thus, genuine worship must be imbued with an
otherness expressed within the blessings of creation as the heavenly altar, 10
the center-piece of the new Jerusalem, is built on the green fields of this
earth. As we seek to erect our house of Liturgy we must be mindful of the
fact that all of our efforts must find their best focus on perseverance and on
attentiveness rather than on technique as an end in itself. The goal must be to
open a channel in which we may discern, with varying degrees of clarity, the
voice of the Lord God in the garden in the cool of the day. Four
complimentary disciplines seem to suggest themselves as the foundation of
our ‘ work ‘ as the people of God – lectio divina, reading and recitation,
meditatio, thorough ongoing reflection, oratio, prayer, and finally
contemplatio, contemplation. These four suggest something of the core of the
worship experience – the personal offering of surrender that opens the self to
God’s presence, opens in relationship not just in ritual act, opens in such a
way that the stimulus of the modern age retreats just as the imaginative
faculties open to the possibility of revelation and communion. This ushers in
the idea, and an important idea it is, that worship is actually not only an
activity of body and mind, something to be accomplished well, but more so a
state of becoming.
So brothers in Christ, fellow workers in the gospel, I offer a series of
potential points of departure as we begin to craft the worship and devotional
life of the Anglocatholic Church.
1 Our worship must find itself within the fullness of the Catholic spirit in
such a way that our mode of celebration is itself an instrument of unity
binding into one our world-wide body of believers, that society of the spirit
who have come into our fold seeking a traditional home. Despite our
diverse backgrounds and specific journeys towards this promised land, we
need a tool of unity to bind us together in all that is essential while permitting
a certain individuality appropriate to specific parish and diocesan situations.
Before the age of liturgical ferment, the Missale Romanun and the Book of
Common Prayer, to name but two great traditional sources, guaranteed for
Roman Catholics and Anglicans a certain uniformity of practice in their
respective worldwide expressions, however they did not prevent a variety of
practice. In the period after Vatican I when the catholic world was torn apart
by the Roman pontifs quest for universal power, the Old Catholic movement,
from which we spring, continued to use the Missale Romanum and the
Brevarium as expressions of their unity in the ancient deposit of the faith. 11
Given the various national expressions of Old Catholicism, a situation that
we share, one might describe the Old Catholic movement as a concorporation,
to borrow the term used by Paschasius Rabertus in his
commentary In Mattheum, this being opposed to the modern idea of a
corporation. I thus propose that our church establish a basic liturgical corpus
to exercise this function for our worldwide body as both an instrument of
unity and as a point of departure for local expressions of traditional worship
coupled to the necessary expressions of local charisms. I believe that this is
especially requisite when we deal with the Ordinal of our Church, which
Canon 9 . 2 requires to conform to the rites of the See of Utrecht. These rites
are simply a translation from the Latin original of the Pontificale Romanum
editio princeps issued under Clement VIII in 1595/ 96. The same unity of
approach should be the case when we deal with the essential sacramental life
of the church expressed in the celebration of Baptism and the Mass.
2 Our worship demands of its leaders and its participants a certain
‘ staying awake ‘ Matthew 26 . 40, 41 and an element of spiritual preparedness
and awareness befitting the Church expectant as the Bride of Christ Revelation
19 . 7 gifted in this with ‘ worth-ship ‘ as He calls us out of darkness into His
marvellous light. 1 Peter 2 . 9 Thus, the relevance of our worship is as a
motion from earth God-ward, a motion not bound by time, nor determined by
relevance for us as a first principle but as a channel opened in Christ to God,
as the KJV puts it ‘ such trust have we to Christ God-ward ‘ 2 Corinthians 3 . 4
Thus our worship is oriented, is spiritually at least eastward facing, gazing
into the dawning of the Novissimus, the coming of the new day of God. Our
worship is that special wedding garment required by the Father of the
Bridegroom for His guests. It takes place in the Banquet Hall of the kingdom
of which our earthly temples are but a provisional sign. The Banquet was,
and is, and is to come in the sense that it never changes for it is beyond time.
Its location is a looking forward by turning to God as the true rising Sun of
Righteousness according to the ancient call to prayer ‘Conversi ad Dominum.
As we do this, the text of Psalm 80 . 14, 19 will be realized in the psalmists
prayer ‘ Look down from heaven, O Lord, and see; have regard for this vine ‘
coupled to ‘ Restore us, let your face shine, that we may be saved. ‘ Our
participation, that worshipful gazing up to heaven, will join with God’s
descending gaze resting upon us as the double motion of true worship. 12
3 My third point is a request for our church to work hard at a specific
aspect to her worship life that has been significantly downgraded by
contemporary Christians. I speak of the Gethsemane prayer of adoration that
stills the heart and the troubled waters of the mad dash of modernity. We need
to stop, go apart and throw ourselves down before our God replicating our
Lord’s deep prayer before His arrest. ‘ I am deeply grieved, even to death.’
Matthew 26 . 38 Surely this deep grief is nothing but a longing for the old
intimacy of Eden now best experienced before the Tabernacle in stilling the
soul and the mind that God’s gentle voice may permeate the inner landscape
of our being. Years ago, our Roman friends valued what they called L ittle
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament – so should we! We should also encourage
our people to participate regularly in the rite of B enediction of the Blessed
Sacrament. Mother Teresa of Calcutta fostered this practice in her convent.
She records the fact that when her sisters again resumed this devotional
practice of deep prayer after it had lapsed in the years following Vatican II,
her sisters experienced a new influx of postulants and a general revivification
in their spiritual life. This could be a strong evangelical tool for us.
4 I wish to encourage all in holy orders to significantly strive to elevate
their own spiritual practice that they, thus fed, may have adequate spiritual
grounding to feed the Lord’s sheep. This begins with a disciplined and
prayerful praying of the daily Offices of the Church – not as an obligation
and burden, but as a time of joy and illumination that consecrates each day to
God on your own behalf and thus on behalf of your people. The objective
liturgical prayer life that binds the ages into one is not to be confused with the
equally important time spent in personal prayer. The core of this time
honoured practice has always been the mindful recitation of the Psalter
coupled with the contemplation of the scriptures. No better formation exists
for ministry. Ample resources are available both in printed form and on line.
Given our liturgical background, I suggest the use of some form of the Prayer
Book offices or that provided in the Breviary. The latter resource provides for
a regular interaction with the vast spiritual wealth of the patristic homilies, a
resource much to be encouraged for the development of spirituality over the
practice of religion.
5 The expression of this inner formation needs to be externalized in 13
our places of worship, be they personal oratories or public spaces devoted to
God’s praise and glory in the celebration of His mysteries. The pristine
beauty of unsullied creation needs to find its expression in the worship
environment and in those things that are used to enhance it as they point
towards eternal verities. As a new church, we do not enjoy the luxury of great
worship spaces and most often must be content with make-shift rented space .
However, wherever we worship, there we must create sacred space which
promotes the experience of sacred time, both of these expressions of the
otherness of our spiritual quest. Effort expended in creating and maintaining
the beauty of our worship is never wasted as we seek always to ‘ ascribe to
the Lord the glory of His Name ‘ and to ‘ worship Him in holy splendour. ‘
Psalm 29 . 2 Effective worship in this manner is not to be confused with
expensive worship nor ostentatious worship! Members of the community
may be encouraged to share their talents in the creation of artifacts that
enhance the sacrality of the worship experience. Similarly, mindful of
Augustine’s dicta that ‘ to sing is to pray twice, ‘ an appropriate musical
ministry may arise from talented members of the laity willing to share their
gifting and resources. Most professional musicians experienced in the field of
liturgical music, are more than willing to point out appropriate resources and
even to hold workshops. The richness and varied landscape of the liturgical
year needs to be captured in such a way that it highlights the exchange of
feast and fast, solemnity and feria, that our worship Sunday by Sunday is
relieved of a tedium that makes into one Easter, Lent and the lengthy seasons
of Trinity and Epiphany.
6 Lastly, I wish to encourage our clergy to read, to mark, learn and
inwardly digest at the level of practice the ancient neglected art of priest
craft. The way we move within worship, our every gesture in its simplicity
and mindfulness, even the attitude expressed on our faces should always
reveal the fact that we our not the center of the liturgy but its humble servant.
Much of the modern liturgical movement has sought extravagance of gesture
as it views the Presider as an animator of the assembly. Within the practice of
traditional Catholicism, principles of action, walking, reciting of prayers,
sitting, standing and turning etc. require a uniformity of action that does not
detract from the object of our worship, Almighty God. The priest in liturgy
acts in persona Christi and must never be allowed to forget this. All 14
assistant ministers, clerical and lay alike, need to follow this example. We
have no need to re-invent the wheel here. Numerous fine manuals are
available both in print and online. The English publication of Ritual Notes,
the works of the American Father Laurence O’Connell and Father Adrian
Fortescue’s The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite are all wonderful aids. Of
special note is the extraordinarily rich online resources offered by the Canons
Regular of Saint John Cantius in Chicago Illinois USA. Their web address is
sanctamissa.org. Help is there available in many languages, in written form
and in detailed online videos. I would like to encourage our bishops to be
pro-active with their clergy by holding workshops led by competent
authorities who are at the same time fine teachers.
Our worship life must reveal the significance of our encounter with
God within our communities understood as the Temple of God and our
worshippers as a Holy Nation who have in the words of the Letter to the
Hebrews 12 . 23, 24
‘ come to Mount Zion,
and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and to the innumerable angels in festal gathering,
and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven,
and to our God the judge of all,
and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
and to Jesus the Mediator of the new Covenant
and to the sprinkled Blood
that speaks a better Word than the blood of Abel. ‘
This is to be our transcendent experience of God and His saving powers
activated in the world in the vivyfing Spirit, the new life of Christ in us
joined to the whole company in heaven, this totality of the Church invited to
the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Revelation 19 . 9 in a ‘ latitudinem cordis, ‘ a
breadth of heart gifted to King Solomon that, as it was with his father David,
all will know that ‘ there is a God ‘ in the new Israel. ‘ 1 Kings 4 . 29
Father David Smith
Cathedral of our Lady and Saint Basil, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Lecture by Canon David Smith – CODE OF CANON LAW

HUMAN SOCIETY, especially religious human society, as it
deals with governance finds itself in an awkward place, caught between two
conflicting demands that defy an easy universal solution. There is the drive
for human freedom at the level of the individual, a drive which stands in
dramatic tension with the rational necessity of a unified and harmonious
world workable at a pragmatic level as opposed to a theoretically desirable
but unrealizable legal construct. This duality, the pull between concrete
individuality and universality, has dogged humanity and challenged the
process of person-hood since the time of the fall and the expulsion from the
Edenic paradise. Followers of Jesus Messiah have come to find their freedom
as sons of God within the one body and in the one Spirit evident in the
ecclesia of God, the new Israel. The strength of our person-hood, individual
and collective alike, is to be found in Christ expressed in loving and caring
community, a gathering strong in the one faith, sealed in the one baptism and
living within the one hope of our calling perfectly expressed for us in the
Most Holy Trinity, in Being as communion expressed in the practice of
selfless love and charity. The individual finds his constitutive element and his
perfect expression as the hypostasis of being that is linked effectively to and
folded into the one Body as they both fulfill the one Will under the guidance
of the one Spirit. All find their valuation here within the Fatherhood of God
Who loves us as His children, heirs, and as co-heirs with Christ the anointed
Son. This sense of freedom is perhaps the ultimate challenge of all created
being as it struggles to finesse the demands of authentic person-hood within
the family of God. It is here, within the dialectic of individual and universal,
of divine Will and human hubris, that the writing of this Code of Canon Law
finds its genesis. It is offered to the Anglocatholic Church spreading across
the face of the earth within the unfolding history of her institutional life as
she seeks to govern herself while at the same time being governed from
above within the glorious liberty of the children of God. Romans 8 . 21
The Church of God must always seek her roots and derive her 2
nourishment from the deep wellsprings of her history and the traditions
imparted by Christ Himself to the apostles, traditions which have continued
unbroken until this day. She possesses no authority of herself to violate this
beneficent divine gifting. She may attempt to clarify it and to interpret the
deposit of the faith and ecclesial practice and in so doing reveal anew their
unchanging relevance in the contemporary world. She can, in humility, as a
servant of the servants of God, seek to discern the authentic guidance of the
Spirit that leads into all truth, most especially in the deliberations of her
magisterium. However, she must always operate under the rubric of our
Lord’s prayerful approach to His heavenly Father Fiat voluntas tua sicut in
caelo et in terra. In dispensing justice, she must always remember that true
justice is restorative and driven by mercy expressed through a heart of love
and lips that speak no guile. Thus holy Church, her leaders and every
member in her must cooperate with the working of divine grace and seek to
minister of the love and wisdom of the Most Holy Trinity. Her exemplar finds
its perfect expression in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Theotokos.
In her humility, she cultivated in a natural way an openness which allowed
God to operate through her as God seeks to restore all of His creation through
a new birth from above within the long-suffering of faith nourished and
watered by hope.
Friends in Christ and co-workers in God’s service, 1 Corinthians 3 . 9 if
we indeed, alongside Paul, are ‘ prisoners in the Lord ‘ Ephesians 4 . 1 – 8, then it
follows that we also must ‘ walk worthy of the vocation in which we are
called, in all humbleness, mildness with patience, supporting one another in
charity, carefully maintaining the unity of Spirit in the bond of peace. ‘ The
maintenance of this catholic heritage through the practice of restorative
justice is our calling in the ministry of reconciliation. As Cardinal Joseph
Ratzinger points out in E schatology Death and Eternal Life we cannot extract
the Ipsissima vox Jesu as a measuring tool for the church or indeed the New
Testament. The Lord’s message becomes intelligible to us through an ‘ echo
effect ‘ that it has created for us through the course of the unfolding of
history. Ratzinger’s teaching allows for a development that is true, provided
that our focus is always be fixed on the inner unity of the whole of God’s
saving message sensed through the inner movement of His word best
expressed in the lives of the faithful rather than in the learned musings of the
scholar in his carrel or in the judgements of those empowered to interpret the
legal code. This finds its locus in the unity of the believing subject, His
Church, the one body. Paul in Ephesians 4 meditates on the saving work of
God in Christ, a work that is exercised by filling all things with grace from
the depths of the lower world to the heights of the Father’s throne, seeking to
induct all into ‘ the measure of the stature of Christ ‘ Who came not to
condemn the world but that all the world through Him might be saved. John 3 .
17 . This divine saving intent must be the single goal both in the creation of
this legal code and its application. We do not judge although we act on behalf
of the only One Who judges. We act always mindful that every one of us
stands under the same sentence. Rather, and exclusively, we act after the
Father’s expressly stated goal as understood by Paul ‘ for the perfecting of the
saints ‘ as the work of ministry and ‘ for the edifying of the body of Christ. ‘
Ephesians 4 . 12 We act provisionally only until we all meet ‘ into the unity of
faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God ‘ that is ‘ a perfect man, ‘ that
which we seek to express in ourselves and attempt to draw from all who have
strayed from the path. Paul magnificently expresses this goal thus ‘ doing
truth in charity ‘ as we ‘ grow up in all things in our Head, Christ. ‘ If in this
Church, we can begin this process of real hearing and real ministering of the
Word of God and transfer that finely tuned hearing into active living after the
perfect model of Christ, I believe that we will find ourselves where Paul
found himself – as interpreters of the grace-driven spirit of the law rather
than the restrictive experience of the letter. This legal corpus must be read
and administered in this liberating way after the model of God who seeks not
the death of a sinner, but rather that he should return to Him Who made him
and live more fully.
Perhaps now is the perfect time to consider the Greek word kanon. The
word admits a certain flexibility in translation with potential meanings
stretching from rule to practical directions including both written laws that
have been promulgated officially and unwritten customs that have been
enshrined in institutional practice. These arise both from a basis in oral
tradition crystallized into words and from the practical necessity of
judgments arising from specific circumstances that lead to the establishment
of principles. A good example of this is Paul’s approach to marriage and
celibacy. The ultimate source is understood to be God Who manifests His
will for creation in both Natural Divine Law that enjoys a universal
recognition and in Revelation preserved in the Church in scripture, in
tradition and in individual communication under the guidance of the Spirit.
Jesus endowed His church with the right of judgment, both of binding and of
freeing. In sight is always the common welfare of the community and all its
members. The gift of judgment needs to be understood as a solemn privilege
that carries with it a solemn warning against the misuse of this power
especially when shepherds refuse to search for the lost, to seek them out and
return them to the safety of the divine sheep fold. Ezekiel 34 Those vested with
the power of judgment need to exercise their power in relation to the real
office of the body of Christ – prophetic, priestly and kingly, offices gifted to
the Church where ministry is a function and direct outgrowth of the loving
unity that Jesus so desired for His family of faith. Thus, the magisterium or
their representatives must act in organic union with the priesthood of all
believers, those in orders and those who are lay alike, mindful that we are all
fallible and under the influence of sin at one and the same time as we seek to
conform ourselves to the Image of the One Who calls us out of darkness into
His pure light. 1 Peter 2 . 9 Thus, in the fellowship of the one Body, we are
called to remember and to turn without recourse to coercive jurisdiction as
we practice restorative justice under the banner of good works. We are called
to seek out the good seed of God sown in every heart, Luke 8 called to allow it
to grow, nay called to foster its growth to optimal maturity wherever the hand
of the Lord God has sown it, that place where it awaits the harvest by the
heavenly angels, always hoping to receive the end of faith, even the salvation
of our souls. 1 Peter 1 . 9 . Thus our ministry in the new Covenant of Love
must be persuasive and driven by love of all after the new Law of Love. It
must arise from the depths of the heart and be readily evident externally in
action in the world. We are here in the Lord’s Name to persuade with
sincerity, to exhort to repentance and especially to welcome back to the fold
with open arms the prodigal who has lost his way, Luke 15 . 11 – 32 called not to
be as the unmerciful servant. Matthew 18 . 23, 24 Thus, this legal corpus must
act as did the ancient concept of the diabolus as recorded in the tale of
Baalam and his ass – as an adversary seeking to prevent future disaster. It
must be a compendium of corrective benchmarks rather than a cause for
expulsion from the restorative love of God. It is to be a tool of healing, a
medicine of the spirit pointing all toward the promise of the gift which is yet
to come to us in all its fullness. Augustine Homily 176 of the Season For in this
power gifted us by the Lord Christ their lurks a potential danger. As judges,
we fall easy prey to the the issue that Paul so strongly exposes with regard to
the Jewish boasting with regard to the Covenant, a boasting that led them to a
false pride as the chosen people of the Almighty and to a false sense that the
keeping of the Law overrode the living of its spirit.
The adoption of the Code should lead us to ever greater humility, to an
increased awareness of our own brokenness and thus to an outpouring of
charity for those who are challenged in keeping within the one Body and
even more so for those who are without the Body and have yet to discover its
transformative salvific value. It should lead us to discover that for each and
every Christian the demands of God are greater than that which any mortal
man can hope to realize. Thus we are all totally dependent on the wellspring
of Grace and must take up with a cheerful heart Matthew Arnold’s poetic
description of our Christian ministry recorded in his poem Dover Beach
‘ the waters priest-like task of ablution round earth’s shores.’.
as we eschew the Queen of Hearts preferred method of justice when she in a
dark voice cries ‘ Off with their heads. ‘
When we allow sacred scripture be our teacher, God will enlighten us
with the wisdom that He gave to Solomon of old as He aids us in rendering
justice on His behalf. He will make us capable of rendering loving
restoration. Like David in his great confession preserved in the text of Psalm
51, each person called to judge must say ‘ I know my transgressions and my
sin is ever before me. ‘ When we all come to this point we begin to recognize
that sin, the condition of the whole body of believers, not a particular act of
an individual, is not cleared by condemnation, punishment and ostracization
but by helping individuals to come to that state which allows the love of God
to create our hearts anew as He puts within us a new and right spirit. This is a
process of return not of exile, of making acceptable not rendering as an
outcast. Each of us is the Prodigal Son seeking return to the bosom of God’s
family. Each of us desires to seek and live His wisdom as truth in the inward
being, in the secret heart. Thus, as ministers of reconciliation, we must be
urged on by the love of Christ, must become ambassadors for Christ,
2 Corinthians 5 . 11ff must proclaim the acceptable time of the Lord, the day of
salvation lest perchance by putting obstacles in the way of others, fault may
be found with our ministry.
Father David Smith
Cathedral of Our Lady and Saint Basil, Toronto, Ontario Canada
July 2017

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Bishop Dr. Raivo Kodanik received the crozier from the Patriarch

On Sunday, August 13, 2017, during the Solemn Pontifical Mass, His Beatitude, The Most Reverend Dr. Heigo Ritsbek, MA, MDiv, DMin, LittD, DD, Patriarch of The Anglocatholic Church, gave crozier to The Most Reverend Dr. Raivo Kodanik, DD, Bishop of The Diocese of The Blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God in Estonia.

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Canon David Smith named as a Titular Bishop

On 5th of August, 2017 His Beatitude, The Most Reverend Dr. Heigo Ritsbek, MA, MDiv, DMin, LittD,DD, Patriarch of The Anglocatholic Church named The Reverend Canon David Smith, MA, MMus, as a Titular Bishop of Antioch of Pisidia. He will be consecrated soon as a Bishop in Toronto by The Reverend Glentis G. Samuel, Dip.Theol, M.Div., Metropolitan Archbishop of The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Saint Basil of The Anglocatholic Church.

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