16 May 2009

Do whatever he tells you.

It is surprising the lengths one will go to in order to avoid revision. Even blogging it would appear. Nonetheless, part of my catch up reading has been going through some old homilies and one, in particular, struck me from Bishop George Stack. He ordained five young men to the diaconate, recently, and during his excellent homily, he preached on the obedience due to Christ. The full detail of the homily is available here. He says:

In the Last Will and Testament of Jesus (John 15:9-17), Jesus reveals what gives us access to his love and friendship – obedience. This obedience is not an imposition from outside. Not a restriction of human liberty. Not conforming to rules and regulations. Ob-audire – an attentive listening with mind and heart to the impulse of God’s spirit, heart speaking to heart in the silence of the heart. This is how we comprehend that at the heart of God there is a place for me: loved, sustained, healed, forgiven.

It comes, for those of us already ordained Deacon, as a reminder of the promises we have made. Obedience, I sometimes suspect, is often overlooked or misunderstood. We certainly do not debate it as hotly as, say, celibacy, and when we do, it is often in relation to 'do as the church says' rather than the true sense which Bishop Stack is talking about. The source of all obedience is, surely, Christ himself, especially in scripture. That Word is, however, in reality mediated through your Bishop. This is why we promise respect and obedience to your ordinary and his successors. Nonetheless, it is reasonable to expect your bishop to be just as committed to "Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practise what you teach." Obedience is, for me, not doing what the bishop says, but wanting, with all my heart, to do that which the bishop wills me to do in order to fulfil his own mission as the direct successor to the Apostle. Further, the will of the successor is to do the will of the Apostle, surely, and the will of the Apostle is but to follow the will of Christ. The will of Christ, evidently, is simply to do the will of the Father, who sent Him. Ergo my will must be conformed to the will of God.


  1. I was looking at the notice board after Mass today,and spotted a picture of you on the wanted list(prayers being the things that were wanted).Nice to know you're thought of eh? I'm in Shirley,Lady of the Wayside Parish, although I do trek around in the summer months.

  2. Thank you. It's kind of you to be praying for me. We all of us, at Oscott, need your prayers.



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