Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 2
19 January, 2014
January is a good time of the year to reflect on priorities: what is important to me — to us as a parish community — as we embark on a new year? As Fr Samuel and Fr Philip have been away on holiday I have had the priviledge of saying Mass at 7.15am most weekdays in the Handfield Chapel. At first I was a little daunted, but the discipline of daily communion has turned out to be such a gift. The sacrament of the Eucharist, the mystery of the real presence of Christ, lies at the very heart of what it is to be an Anglo-Catholic Christian. St Augustine wrote: "If we receive the Eucharist worthily, we become what we receive" (Sermon 227). Each time we celebrate the mass we proclaim a profound truth: "We are the Body of Christ: His Spirit is with us."
In Australia we have the freedom to receive communion when ever we want, and at St Peter's we keep the ancient tradition of offering a daily Mass. Not everyone in the world has this priviledge, and very few Anglican churches these days celebrate the Eucharist each day; we should probably (myself included) value it much more than we do. The story of Fr Gheorghe Calciu is a reminder of this; he was imprisoned for 21 years for speaking against Communism.
It was Sunday, and I was isolated. It was one of the days without food, and I couldn't serve the Divine Liturgy, because I had no bread ... a thought came to me: to ask the guard for some bread. The evil guard was on duty, and I knew that my request would make him angry; he would insult me, and he would ruin the peace I had in my soul for that holy day. But the thought persisted and grew so strong that I knocked on the iron door of the cell. A fe minutes later the door was violently opened, and the furious guard asked me what was the matter. I asked him for a piece of bread, no more than an ounce, for serving the Holy Liturgy.
365 Days of Yes: Daily Prayers and Readings for a Missional People (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2012), p. 51.
The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster
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