From the Vicar…
My dearest brothers and sisters,
From The Spiritual Life in Wartime by Evelyn Underhill.
There are, I think, three great characters of the spiritual life which, in a war-swept
world, the Christian needs to keep in constant remembrance, seeking by all means
in his power to maintain and spread them; and three great hindrances to his
spiritual vigour and effectiveness.
The three characters are those which St Paul called the first-fruits of the Spirit:
love, joy and peace. These belong to the very essence of God’s Nature, and we
share in them as his children. It is our business to see that they are not submerged
by the rising tide of hatred, violence and despair. But only a constant adoring
remembrance of the universal charity of God, overflowing all divisions and
embracing all our petty loves and hates, his untouched joy redeeming our
suffering, his deep tranquillity resolving our conflicts, and a steady effort to
embody something of those holy realities in our prayer and life, can save us in the
present crisis from sliding down into the confusions of a world that has lost contact
with God. It is above all by love, joy and peace that all our worship, our
intercession, our acts of penitence and self-offering should be coloured; uniting
the needs of the world with these personal approaches to God, and so carrying
them up into his quiet Presence.
Of the three difficulties which especially beset the spiritual life at this time, the first
is the crude temptation to regard time given to prayer as a selfish withdrawal from
the stress of the common life. It is easy to feel that we ought to be doing something
obviously useful, when so much needs to be done. Were Christian prayer merely
the solitary adventure of pious souls, there might be something in this. But it is not.
It is the employment of a mighty energy given to us by God, for the purposes of
God. Prayer is the substance of the Church’s life. As her members, we pool our
spiritual effort. The action of each one of us counts in the total action of her life:
and if we fail to do our part, that total action is correspondingly reduced.
Last, and perhaps hardest for those who feel it, the war presents the problem of
suffering in its most agonizing form; and there is the danger that this may so
oppress the soul that the peace and joy of God are entirely lost in contemplation of
the misery of man. It is a function of Christian prayer to accept this pain freely, and
neutralize its poison by uniting it to the Cross. But even this costly redemptive
action must be subordinated to our primary duty—the humble and loving worship
of God and remembrance of his unchanging joy and peace.
Peace be with you all.
- At 2:00 pm today, the Canterbury Interfaith Society is facilitating a prayer service at the Peace Bell in the Botanic Gardens. There is also a public event at 5:00 pm in North Hagley Park.
- Next Sunday we will be joined by our School for Mothering Sunday. Parishioners are encouraged to bring small posies of flowers, which will be blessed and given out during the Mass. Afterwards the School community will join us for refreshments
- Bible Discussion Group with Fr Chris: Mondays 10:45 am in the Lady Chapel.
- Bible Study Group meets tomorrow, 7:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Meditation Group meets in the Lady Chapel Wednesdays at 12 noon.
Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Pat Evans (358 0127).
- Angelology Group meets Thursdays, 10:30 am in the Lady Chapel.
- Vestry meets on Thursday at 7:00 pm in the parish lounge.
- Advance Notice: Parish Annual General Meeting 28 April.
- Open Home Foundation—becoming a foster parent: see poster for details.
- Book Swap: in the parish lounge. More books needed, especially recent titles. Koha to parish.
- Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.