My dear friends,
The best decision we can make at the start of a new year is to ensure that our lives are open to the influence of Christ Our Lord and to resolve to stay close to him in the days and weeks to come.
"Remain in my love," Christ urged his apostles. "Apart from me," he told them gently, "you can do nothing." But with him all things are possible. He guaranteed that those who follow him will not walk in darkness. For he is the Light of the World, as we are reminded in our services over Christmas. He also said that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life. A very wise person has added these words the comment that "without the Way there is no going, without the Truth there is no knowing and without the Life there is no living."
We can keep in contact with Christ by prayer and by reflecting on the Scriptures. We can pray : Lord, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day.
But it is in and through the Church that we can enter most intimately into the mystery of Christ's presence and experience the power of his love. In the Eucharist the fruits of Christ's sacrifice are applied to our lives and when we offer ourselves to him we are drawn to be one with him in friendship and in continuing with him in his redemptive work in the world. Our daily lives are given a clearer purpose, a fresh energy. In Holy Communion he fills us with his Spirit and Life.
Through the Sacraments he makes himself available to us as we continue on our earthly pilgrimage coming close to us in times of need and crisis, in our illness and despair, in our joy and our sorrow. Should we ever break our friendship with him because of our human weakness, he waits for us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, longing to receive us home again and to celebrate with us the joy our return brings to him.
It has long been held that loyalty to Christ cannot be easily divorced from loyalty to his Church, yet there are those within the Church who seem to regard the Christian faith as a kind of "pick-and-mix" sweet counter from which you can pick and choose at will, accepting this teaching, rejecting that.
Where such action is taken, serious spiritual impoverishment occurs and it is always sad when this happens. The defiance that follows often hides a deep inner uncertainty, and angry refusal to admit ones mistakes, a secret despair,
Yet we can call on Christ for help. He never rejects us. He stands at the door of our lives knocking gently--if we wish to hear. All we have to do is to open our hearts to Him and he will come to us, offering us the intimacy of his presence and the power of his love can make all things new.
Your friend and Rector