Services at St Michael and All Angels
Sunday 15 April, Third Sunday of Easter
Sunday 29th April, Fifth Sunday of Easter
Sunday 6 May, Sixth Sunday of Easter
Sunday 20 May, Whitsunday (Pentecost)
Sundays with no Eucharist service
at St Michael’s:
Sunday 13 May, Sunday within the Octave Joseph Ignaz Mildorfer 1719-1775
Sunday 27 May, Trinity Sunday
Sunday 3 June, Sunday within the Octave
of Corpus Christi
Reflections on the Festivals
Recently I have visited Liberal Catholic churches in Auckland in New Zealand and Sydney in Australia, both churches being dedicated to St Francis. It is a great pleasure for me to be amongst Liberal Catholics in other cities at a Festival time such as Easter and share in communities of Liberal Catholics enjoying our special Christian heritage.
I refer to the heritage from our Founding Bishops, as captured so eloquently in the introduction to the Statement of Principles, of “the reality of sacramental grace – with the widest measure of intellectual liberty”. In the thoughts which I shared with the congregations of both St Francis in Auckland and St Francis in Sydney, I reflected on the theme that comes through the recent film of Mary Magdalene of seeking “the Kingdom within” and not the (misinterpreted) Messianic role projected onto Jesus by some of his disciples. Jesus in the role of Messiah was intended to liberate the Jews from their Roman oppressors and simultaneously manifest God’s Kingdom on Earth. This would certainly have been a more momentous event, may I say, than the Commonwealth Games we have been immersed in for the pat 10 days on the Gold Coast!
The confusing, difficult, fearful time for the disciples after Jesus’ death was finally set aside by the stupendous event of Pentecost (50th day) or Whitsunday which we will celebrate on the 7th Sunday after Easter, 49 days after Easter Sunday.
Mosaic in the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis
Referring again to our Statement of Principles, we can see in the sections on “Mysticism and the Wisdom Tradition” and “Theological and Philosophical Background” that the Liberal Catholic Church appreciates insights, learnings and the spiritual traditions of a number of sources reaching back before the time that Jesus taught in Palestine. The Wisdom Tradition is expanded in notes taken by our Vicar General Fr Fred Shade from a series of talks entitled “Partaking in the Christian Mysteries” given by the Rt Rev. Sten von Krusenstierna at the 1988 Annual Retreat in Melbourne. The notes were published in 2000 by the Order of St Alban. Bishop Sten has set out a summary of the Mystery Schools (spiritual centres) that flourished around the Mediterranean in the times of Greek and then Roman dominance. These centres can be shown to have influenced the formation and development of the Sacraments which we practice as Liberal Catholics. The new message of Christ infused the Wisdom Traditions with the Christian spiritual path of purification, illumination and union with God.
We personally can use the Festival of Pentecost as a reminder that we too have a spark of the divine fire, the Holy Spirit within us. Whenever we sing the Veni Creator we bring ourselves closer to the Holy Spirit.
Corpus Christi (body of Christ) too has links to the understandings and insights from the Wisdom Tradition.
Corpus Christi connects us directly with Christ and reminds us of His deep and ever-present influence in the physical world that we experience with our senses. During the Eucharist, which was initiated by Jesus at the conclusion of his public time on earth, the essence of the second aspect of the Trinity, the Son, infuses and transforms the host and wine at the moment of consecration. Physically, to our senses, nothing has changed, but at the deeper levels of reality that we are encouraged to explore and understand as Liberal Catholics, the presence of Christ (Corpus Christi) is greatly magnified and concentrated. By partaking of the host during administration of the bread and wine, the Christ penetrates and illuminates us at deep spiritual levels, assisting us on our personal spiritual paths.
In these post-Easter days we can reflect on the deeply significant and spiritually precious gifts we can all enjoy. The “fire of God’s love” revealed at Pentecost continues to enrich our lives every day and the deep presence of Christ “behind” the physical world of our senses continues to guide us on our chosen Paths.
With God’s blessing