The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Spiritual Autobiography

by the Rev. Jurgen Liias

This has been written as part of an Application Process seeking Ordination in the Catholic Church through the Anglican Ordinariate..

This last year I gathered together at 8a.m. on Saturday morning- (the time was intended to find only motivated folk) -a group of parishioners of CTR to explore the meaning of the invitation of Pope Benedict in Anglicanorum Coetibus.  We began our study under the brilliant tutelage of Dr. Thomas Howard addressing the question for ten weeks: “What does the Catholic church really teach?” A convert from Fundamentalism and Anglicanism, Dr. Howard was able to instruct us both biblically and cogently about those subjects most troublesome to evangelical protestants: Marian dogma and devotion, the primacy of Peter, the infallibility of the Pope, the veneration and intercession of Saints, the doctrine of purgatory, prayer for the dead etc.   A second ten week study program was focused on Anglican- Catholic Ecumenical Conversations and initiatives: ARCIC, the Pastoral provision, Anglican-use Catholic churches, and finally the idea  of an Anglican Ordinariate proposed by the Pope’s decree.    I concluded that series with an invitation: If twelve individuals feel called personally to respond to the Pope’s invitation to Anglicans to come into full communion with the See of Rome through the Ordinariate, I would lead them forward.  I initially received nine commitments; a tenth joined us in November; on December 31 I received 11 and 12! On January 1, the US Ordinariate was established. God could not have been clearer.

I am as well convinced that this was the Kairos for me precisely because of the Ordinariate. Though I might have journeyed earlier to Rome in my own personal history, this was a collective historic moment  for the beginning of the fulfillment of the vision of the reunion of Rome and Canterbury. That was the dream of our tractarian fathers, that was the explicit goal of Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey at the launching of the ARCIC dialogues, this was an implicit hope in the bold ecumenical theology of Pope John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint and his revisioning of a Papacy for the whole church. I am humbled to be invited by God to be a small part of this historic work.

Read the whole of Fr. Liias' spiritual autobiography at his eponymous blog.

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