Pastoral Letter - Advent 2020
To write a pastoral letter at the close of such an unprecedented year as this is no easy task and whilst it would be relatively easy to attempt to console you with some one-size-fits-all pious encouragement I am not going to waste your time, or my own, with that kind of exercise, especially when the mainstream churches do it so well. There is a time for milk sops and a time for meat and we what need now is a high protein diet to sustain us.
If, like myself, you only watch alternative media then you should be aware of the great evil that has been unleashed on the world, the like of which we have not seen since the 2nd World War. Unlike the 1918 Pandemic, Corona is no natural disaster, rather, it is an unnatural disaster in so many ways.
I have never been given to millenialism and apocalyptic beliefs, particularly those based on the bible, and view them with a large dose of scepticism, yet apocalyptic language does seem to be the most apt in considering the events of this year.
As a fairly liberal church we are increasingly finding ourselves out of sympathy with fellow liberals (who are either complicit or oblivious to what is really happening) but we are finding allies in unlikely directions, primarily amongst Conservatives, Classical Liberals and Libertarians of all shades, … yes, even some Evangelicals, Orthodox and traditional Catholics, all of whom are a little out of our comfort-zone, but if commitment to the principles of Freedom, Truth and Justice are our priority then we’ll need to find allies wherever we can find them. It is a simple process of re-alignment that the times demand for those who are spiritually aware and politically informed.
Moving swiftly on to the spiritual dimension - actually inextricable from the political. If the above appraisal of the global situation be a fair and accurate one – then how should we be comporting ourselves, one might ask? When I was a boy some people used to say that the IRA had a rosary in one hand and an armalite in the other. I am not recommending this strategy, but I would say we would do well to have a rosary in one hand and the Sword of the Spirit in the other. Thinking about this today I was reminded of part of a prayer that the bishop says at the sacrament of Confirmation: …..“We offer unto thee the lives which thou today hast blessed, that they, whom thou hast accepted as servants in thy church on earth, may so bear themselves as true and faithful knights in thy service, that they may be found worthy hereafter to stand before thee in the ranks of thy holy church eternal. O thou great King of Glory, to whom be praise and adoration from men and from the angel host. Amen.”
Demons flee from both the Cross and Our Lady, so let our devotions be squarely founded on the Blood of Christ and on Our Lady of Grace, at least until such time as we may be able to return to some semblance of how things were, pre-Corona. We cannot and must not allow the Great Reset, but rather we must do all in our power to further the Great Awakening.
Fortunately, we have a great deal in our arsenal of prayer that may be potent in the times ahead. I would recommend for daily use the mindful recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. We take it for granted, but said with conviction it has great power. I would also recommend St Patrick’s Breastplate; the Memorare (Remember O most Gracious Virgin Mary …) and the prayer to St Michael. We are surrounded by Angels of Light who will do all in their considerable power to strengthen us in the battles ahead if we but ask in faith.
I expect many of you recall the story of the Christmas ceasefire in the trenches during the First World War, so I pray that this Christmas, you and your loved ones may also enjoy some “time out”, relief from stress and may be consoled by the knowledge that our true life is in heaven.
And so may the baby Jesus and His immaculate Mother cheer your hearts and give you hope for brighter days ahead,
+Alistair OSBA, KTPP