‘Weekly Post: AD 2018 March 15

Beloved of the Lord:

To-day is Thursday, 15 March, in the year of our Lord 2018. ‘Apologies for the late date of this issue of ‘The Post. There is much happening, as will be detailed, below. The remaining Services for this week are as-follows:

  • Thursday: 6:30 PM, Mass, Lenten Feria, followed by soup and study.
  • Friday: 9:00 AM, Mass, S. Patrick, Bishop and Confessor (Transferred).
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM, Requiem Mass for James Clark Judkins
    • 1:00 PM, Memorial for James Clark Judkins,
      Little’s Funeral Home, Smithfield.
    • Following Memorial, interment near Bacon’s Castle.
    • Following interment, reception, location to be announced.
  • Sunday: 9:00 & 11:00 AM, Mass, Passion Sunday, with special Stations of the Cross between services.

This Sunday, there will be a Stations of the Cross for All Ages between the services. This will be intructional, and ideal for children, as-well as those who’ve never said the ‘Stations. Please plan to stay after the 9:00, and to come early for the 11:00, that we all may share in this special offering.

As you will have noted, James Clark Judkins, long-time member of S. Matthew’s, Lt. Colonel USA, Retired, entered the gates of larger life this-past Monday. His Requiem will take-place this-coming Saturday, 17 March. Other services for Jim will follow, on that day, as-noted above. Due to this scheduling, the Mass for S. Patrick has been transferred to Friday morning.

I just learned yesterday that Lib Hathaway, whom we have not seen in several years, passed-away suddenly, last week. The service and it’s date are being worked-out with the family; Monday, 2 April, is one date under consideration. A special notice will be sent-out, once that has been determined.

At the last ‘Annual Meeting, our chief project for this year was announced: the erecting of a steeple on the Church. We have already collected over five-thousand dollars for this effort! If any would like to make a special gift for this work, over-and-above your tithe, please speak with Charlotte Haden, our Treasurer, and make note of it on the memo-line of any cheque that you may write. Anything that we may do to increase our visibility, much-less to spread the word of His kingdom, is a good thing.

Over recent weeks, we’ve spoken of a variety of spiritual disciplines, including fasting, abstinence, tithing, and Holy Penence, commonly called Confession. All of these (and many more besides!) are firmly rooted in Holy Scripture ~ they are commands of our Lord. Although it has become very unpopular to make firm statements on anything, the truth of the matter is simply this: these are non-negotiable. What God orders, we do. Period.

In this decayed, corrupted Age, many have come to believe that truth is relative, leaving each to be the final arbiter of their own ‘truth’. Not only is this intellectually ridiculous, contravening MILLENIA of academic tradition and practice, it is morally untenable, and spiritually repugnant. We are all creatures; none of us the Creator.

First, we learn and do the commands of our Father. As we mature, we realise, and incorporate, the more important spiritual laws that underly them. Only when we do the works our Lord has commanded, and in the right spirit, combining temporal and spiritual (external and internal) devotion, do we approach what our Lord has intended for us to be.

Now that Passiontide is hard-upon us, it is meet and right that we reflect on these most fundamental of things ~ how are we to be (or become) what God has planned for us? Start simply ~ follow the rules. The rest will come, with a sincere, devout, and penitent heart. I remain

in His peace,

The Rev’d Fr. T. L. Crowder

Pastor, Saint Matthew’s Parish

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Requiescat in Pace: Lt. Col. James Clark Judkins, USA Retired

Beloved of the Lord:

Please pray for the holy progress of the soul of Lt. Col. James Clark Judkins, USA Retired, who entered the gates of larger life last evening, at 8:50 PM. He was surrounded by family throughout the evening. A Requiem Mass has tentatively been scheduled for this-coming Saturday, 17 March, at 10:00 AM. A memorial service will likely follow in Smithfield, with interment to follow near the family farm, close to Surry. A reception will follow. As details are finalised, they will be announced. I remain

in His peace,

Fr. Crowder

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‘Weekly Post.: AD 2018 March 4

Beloved of the Lord:

Today is 4 March, in the year of our Lord 2018. Services for the coming week are as-follows:

  • Monday: 10:00 AM, Mass, Feria of Lent.
  • Tuesday: 5:30 PM, Mass, SS. Perpetua & Felicity, Martyrs.
    6:30 PM, Rosary and Sung Evensong.
  • Wednesday: 12:10 PM, Mass, S. Thomas Aquinas, Confessor & Doctor.
  • Thursday: 6:30 PM, Mass, S. John of God, followed by soup and study.
  • Friday: 9:00 AM, Mass, S. Frances of Rome.
    Noon and 5:00 PM, Stations of the Cross; Evening Prayer after the 5:00 PM.
  • Saturday: 5:00 PM, Mass, The Forty Holy Martyrs.
  • Sunday: 9:00 & 11:00 AM, Mass, Mothering Sunday (Lent IV)

Please make note of all of the services offered throughout the week. In-particular, Stations of the Cross have been added at Noon on Friday, to benefit those who do not care to drive at night. Our study of the Prayer Book continues on Thursday evenings, after Mass.

Continuing the discussion of Holy Penance, commonly called Confession, a number of traits from the earlier systems remain in our modern practices. The penance assigned may be something accomplished in a day, or to be done over a period of weeks, or of months. A penance of years is unheard-of in our time, but the idea of a particular penance being extended over time is not uncommon.

Although ~ due, no-doubt, to the haste of our modern minds ~ the sentence of Absolution is pronounced by the Priest at the time of the Confession, the actual forgiveness of sin does not take-place until the penance has not only been completed, but done in a right spirit. In the same way that paying one’s tithe in a grudging or bitter frame of mind negates any potential spiritual benefit derived therefrom, if one’s penance is not completed in an humble, penitent, remourseful way, no forgiveness is forth-coming. Here, as elsewhere, the spirit of the law is life; the letter, death.

Lacking a proper confessional (the wee booth) at S. Matthew’s, should you choose to avail yourself of the Sacrament of Penance, I’ll set a chair inside the Altar-rail. You will kneel at the rail, behind my position, so that I may not see you. You will begin, with the words that you know, or that I will give you, to confess your sins. Once you’ve finished, I’ll give a sparing spiritual counsel ~ ‘Penance should never be a chat, or busy conversation. Once that is concluded, I’ll assign the penance, and pronounce the absolution. Once your penance has been humbly, gratefully completed, your sin(s) shall be lifted from you.

As a side-comment, it should be noted that, to continue to feel and worry-over the weight of sins that have been forgiven, either through direct confession to God, or through the Priest, is a sin in-and-of itself. To worry over sins that have been forgiven is to deny the power of the Holy Ghost to remove them ~ a blasphemy of the highest order. Once confessed, thus shriven of your sins, you are intended to feel lighter, freer, and joyful ~ happy in the knowledge of the love of our God. This is the end of Holy Penance ~ to free us from ourselves, the better to love and serve Him. I remain

in His peace,

The Rev’d Fr. T. L. Crowder

Pastor, Saint Matthew’s Parish

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‘Weekly Post: AD 2018 February 27

Beloved of the Lord:

To-day is Tuesday, 27 February, in the year of our Lord 2018. Remember that every day in Lent has it’s own Mass, with propers specific to the day. If you’re not burdened with punching a clock every day, you may collect the whole set! This week’s Services are as-follows:
  • Monday: 10:00 AM, Mass, Lenten Feria.
  • Tuesday: 5:30 PM, Mass, Lenten Feria.
    6:30 PM, Stations of the Cross.
  • Wednesday: 12:10 PM, Mass, Lenten Feria.
  • Thursday: 6:30 PM, Mass, S. David, Bishop and Confessor,
    followed by soup (meatless) and study.
  • Friday: 9:00 AM, Mass, S. Chad, Bishop and Confessor.
    5:00 PM, Stations of the Cross, Evening Prayer.
  • Saturday: 5:00 PM, Mass, Lenten Feria.
  • Sunday: 9:00 & 11:00 AM, Mass, Lent III.

We have, of-late, been considering spiritual practices, tools, and obligations. Lent is the Season when such things are usually intensified, or resumed, or begun. We began with fasting and abstinence, the rules, applications and exceptions. ‘Next came tithing, the rules and spiritual benefits. This week we’ll examine Holy Penance.

Holy Penance is one of the seven sacraments practiced by Holy Mother, the Church, from the earliest of days. It tends to be over-looked, which is unfortunate, as the spiritual benefit can be very great. Many of you may not recognise the name ~ Holy Penance is commonly called Confession.

The earliest practices are largely unknown, but by the Third century, a distinct system had been established. Penance was either voluntary or made under threat of excommunication from a Bishop. Once penance was undertaken, the penitent was publically enrolled in the order of penitents, and removed from the congregation of the faithful. Sources differ as-to whether the details of the confession were ever made public; the penance itself, however, was always public. Penance could only be undertaken once in a lifetime; any lapse thereafter would remain unforgiven. Lastly, life-long prohibitions attached to the penitent ~ he must not be a soldier and he might not marry.

As a result of the severity of the system, Penance was often delayed until the eve of death; for the same reason, this system began to break-down. A new system, and the predecessor of our modern practices, was developed by our ancestors ~ Celtic- and Anglo-Saxon monk-missionaries. Penance was still long (depending upon the severity of the sin, it could and did last for years) and public. The three distinctive practices of the old system~ separate order of penitents, only once per lifetime, and life-long inhibitions ~ were not continued. Both the new and the old system witheld absolution ’til the completion of the penance proscribed.

The early Church attached great weight to the idea that the atonement for sins must consist at-least partially of the punishment of the sinner, on the grounds that it was better to endure the punishment in this world than in the next. Another idea implicit in the early systems was that the rigourous application of ascetic practices ~ suffering for spiritual advancement, in this case ~ would not only atone for the sins committed, but, if done genuinely, would also attack the root passions that caused the sins in the first-place. Thus, a correction of life would ensue from a properly-done Penance.

This, then, is a brief look at the historic practices concerning Holy Penance. Next week, we’ll look at modern practices, and at making your confession in our Parish. I remain

in His peace,

The Rev’d Fr. T. L. Crowder

Pastor, Saint Matthew’s Parish

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