And what about the risk of “infection”, the risk of letting oneself be contaminated? (continued)
I would like to mention another conduct typical of the scholars of the law, & I will say that there is often a kind of hypocrisy in them, a formal adherence to the law that hides very deep wounds. Jesus uses tough words; he defines as “whited sepulchres” those who appear devout from the outside, but inside, on the inside…are hypocrites. These are men who live attached to the letter of the law but who neglect love; men who only know how to close doors & draw boundaries. Chapter 23 of the Gospel of Matthew is very clear on this; we need to return there to understand what the Church is and what it should never be. He describes the attitudes of those who tie up heavy burdens & lay them on other men’s shoulders, but who are unwilling to move so much as a finger; they are those who love the place of honour & want to be called master. This conduct comes when a person loses the sense of awe for salvation that has been granted to him. When a person feels a little more secure, he begins to appropriate faculties which are not his own, but which are the Lord’s. The awe seems to fade, & this is the basis for clericalism or for the conduct of people who feel pure. What then prevails is a formal adherence to rules & to mental schemes. When awe wears off, we think we can do everything alone, that we are the protagonists. & if that person is a minister of God, he ends up believing that he is a separate from the people, that he owns the doctrine, that he owns the power, & he closes himself off from God’s surprises. “The degradation of awe” is an expression that speaks to me. At times I have surprised myself by thinking that a few very rigid people would do well to slip a little, so that they could remember that they are sinners & thus meet Jesus. I think back to the words of God’s servant John Paul I, who during a Wednesday audience said, “The Lord loves humility so much that sometimes he permits serious sins. Why? In order that those who committed these sins may, after repenting, remain humble. One does not feel inclined to think oneself half a saint, half an angel, when one knows that one has committed serious faults. (The Name of God is Mercy; Pope Francis)
Thank you to those of you who answered our appeal last weekend for Ministers of the Word, & of Holy Communion to take part in the Inspirational Day at the Spa Conference Centre in Scarborough on Sat 9th Sept 2017. As we return from holidays, it is an appropriate moment to thank our Ministers, & indeed all those others of you who have kept our Church & its liturgies going with such reverence & devotion. I met with our new Vicar, Rev Catherine Reid, earlier this week to personally welcome her into the Village & locality. She is to be away from the Benefice on maternity leave this autumn, & with this in mind, we would like to propose Harvest will be on Tues 26th Sept at 7pm in St Hilda’s, & Remembrance on Sun 12th Nov at 10.50am at OL&SB. Please keep Rev Catherine, her family & her Parishioners in your prayers at this joyful & expectant time. I am away from the Parish leading a Pilgrimage to Iona, & return late on Thursday evening. We are grateful to those members of the Community who will be celebrating Mass with you. Be sure of my continued prayers for all of you, particularly for those who are critically or seriously ill, & for the staff & pupils of St Benedict’s Primary School as they return to studies on Tuesday. With my love & prayers. Fr Bede.