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Sunday 22 January 2012

Epiphany and the Call to Fish

This Epiphany Season, following the formation of a new Ordinariate, North American Anglicans consider how we can best preserve and develop the patrimony which God has put under our stewardship. We hear at Sunday Mass the message of Jesus' call to the fishermen.

"Leave it all behind", he says, "and come follow me" with the promise that God will show us new seas to fish.  Indeed the seas are full with so many looking within their deepest selves for meaning.

Many would find faith and meaning through what Anglican Catholic patrimony can offer -- beauty in liturgy, care and pastoral concern in small parishes, preaching based upon the heritage of Patristics with Catholic tradition and orthodox teaching, along with the best of English music, amongst other things.

It is our call to be part of this epiphany and, by God's grace, to "show forth" the treasures of the English Catholic Church which have been developed into an Anglican patrimony throughout the world.

This is the bait which will attract young people, Lutherans and other non-Catholics, a vibrant Anglican Catholicism which contains the fulness of Catholic tradition which has responded to the challenges and legitimate questions of reform.

Yes, this is an expression of Catholicism which responds to the many young and thoughtful people repulsed by the secular culture of death but also unimpressed by the banal and trite forms of liberal Protestantism or the gimmicky entertainment of the mega-church or many Latin rite parishes.

We are called to carry this patrimonial gift back into full communion with the Catholic Church. As said previously here, the Catholic Church is the only place in which Anglicans can find a true and lasting home, one where communities can be nurtured to serve future generations (see the posting : An Ordinary Anglican).

What is needed now is time and space for those crossing the Tiber to settle into communities which are secure within the Catholic Church and under the care of our Ordinary. These must be communities where those coming from Anglican and other churches to serve may be free from the endless politics of the Anglican Communion, of the alphabet soup or other Protestant sects so that they can practice the Catholic Faith, attend weekly Mass and get on with the pastoral and mission work which Jesus calls us to -- to get down to new seas fishing for the souls that God calls us to.

It is time to leave behind the old ways, bad habits, petty rivalries and yes the security of the old structures and to say with Simeon:

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
According to thy Word;
For mine eyes have seen they salvation
Which thou has prepared before the face of all people

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