Fr. Doug Hayman, pastor of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa, has an interesting reflection in our monthly newsletter the Annunciator about the dangers of idolatry and putting anything, even good things, ahead of our relationship with God. This part jumped out:
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
You shall have no other gods before me. Deuteronomy 5:6-7
Back in November 2014, I wrote in the Annunciator about a word which had come to me while praying before the Blessed Sacrament. I was drawn to Joshua 13 and 24, to the words of Moses’ successor as he addressed his people Israel, as they were preparing to settle in the Promised Land. He exhorted them to make a decision about whom they would serve henceforth, warning them that committing themselves to the LORD was not something which they could do lightly. “Of course,” they responded at once, “We will serve the LORD!”
But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD; for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after having done you good.”
Joshua 24:16-20. In effect, he was telling them: You cannot do this unless it’s wholehearted. If you ‘set your hand to the plow’, then turn back, the consequences will be far greater than had you never taken it up at all. You cannot play at being God’s people; you must give yourselves completely or not at all. And the people said to Joshua, “Nay; but we will serve the LORD.” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve Him.” Then Joshua continued by giving stern and clear direction, “Then put away the foreign gods
which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.”v.21-23
I thought at the time that this was a word to us as a parish, and my sense is that it is becoming more clearly focused as such. Do we truly believe that our Lord has brought us to this place, into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, into full Communion with the Catholic Church? Are we willing to let go of everything into His hands: i.e. all that we were, and are, and will become? Do we trust Him? Will we trust Him to take us where He wants us to be?
Many of us continue to struggle with questions of Anglican Patrimony in the Catholic Church, particularly regarding what we have or have not been able to bring with us into full Communion, and what might yet be part of our life and ministry in the future. Of course when, in our profession of faith, we declared, “I believe and profess all
that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” we acknowledged our willingness to trust the Church to judge what of our Anglican heritage may be gathered in to express full and fruitful Catholic Faith.
Still, there may well be some things which we need, in all humility, to continue to discuss—maybe even respectfully argue about—but we must be careful that they not hold first place in our hearts, else they in fact come between us and obedience to the call of our Lord.
There’s a lot more at the link. This is a good text to keep in mind as we pursue the goals of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society (from our Mission Statement at our website:
Our Work and Mission
The mission of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society is:
To offer independent and loyal support to the Personal Ordinariates established under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.
To foster relations among the members of the Ordinariates worldwide and encourage communion.
To evangelize by encouraging and supporting patrimonial communities outside the Ordinariates which may become communities in formation for the Ordinariates.
To promote and where possible to provide an environment where thinking, pondering, discussing, informing, educating, creating, writing and publishing can take place with regard to the entire span of the received Anglican patrimony – liturgical, intellectual, pastoral, spiritual, theological, literary, artistic, musical, social – which the Ordinariates are called to bring into the Catholic Church as a treasure to be shared.
To encourage full active participation of lay members of the Ordinariates.
To embody the ecumenical spirit of the Ordinariates by reaching out to other Christians who are also custodians of the Anglican patrimony, encouraging them to participate fully in our activities and become members.
Fr. Hayman concludes:
The Ordinariate was not established to be a life-raft to
rescue us from Anglo-apostasy and afford us a comfortable
corner in which to live in eccentricity, rehearsing quaint
Cranmerian prayers, quoting the KJV, intoning plainsong
and Sarum Chant, while inhaling clouds of incense.
Rather we have been appointed to share the treasure of the
Gospel as it has shaped our distinctive forms of worship
and rhythms of thought and prayer—where these
Anglican Traditions have remained rooted in the Catholic
Faith—that we may be an instrument of renewal of the
Catholic Church, for her mission to share Christ with the
world. To that we end, we are called to live faithfully and
sacrificially in the offering of all our resources—money,
time, physical presence and energy, prayer and witness—
allowing ourselves to be broken, that the glory of God may
be made manifest, shining in the face of Jesus Christ,
reflected in us, made and renewed in His image. Let us
offer ourselves, sincerely, deliberately and completely to
Him. Ask what He wills and set our hearts to do it.
We had two members leave our fold over the Anglican patrimony issue in recent months. Very sad and a “pruning” experience. However, thankfully, I would say those of us who remain are on the same page as our priests and willing to make that wholehearted, sacrificial offering.