Is God pruning for growth?

I was struck by an observation made by Fr. Andrew Burnham that everyone in the Ordinariate is being humbled in order to serve. Bishops become priests, priests become laity for a period , laity enter into a Eucharistic fast and voluntarily accept a reduced status as they begin life in their new church. And the cutting back does not stop there. Many clergy families will move from large expensive properties to small modest houses. Parishes will vacate treasured churches and leave all their posessions behind. There is a process of reduction going on that will cause the cynic to snear but to those with eyes of faith it says something else entirely.

Indeed this joyfully surrendering of worldly posessions serves as a witness to others. S. Francis said that there was no point walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching. I see something of that in the formation process thus far.

I delight in the willingness being shown by so many to sacrifice and be humbled for the sake of the Gospel. It is as if a great spiritual pruning takes place. As if God is cutting us back in preparation for a growth and renewal. We become less in order that He might be more. How wonderful and how very Christian. It stands in the tradition of the Saints and is a witness in this decadent world of simplicity, obedience and grace.

15 thoughts on “Is God pruning for growth?”

    1. It would be somewhat odd, to say the least, to find a newly-received Catholic acting as an Anglican priest or requiring to be recognized as one! I understand that the process of resigning Anglican orders is rather time-consuming and expensive, even if one can be bothered to go through it; after all, de facto, whatever of de jure, once a man has left the C. of E. to join the Catholic Church and therein be ordained a Catholic priest, his previous ministry is past.

      What is it with people always writing “RC”, by the way? Catholics – myself included – find it offensive and derogatory, bespeaking Anglican snobbery. Catholics are the majority of Christians, whatever of local circumstances in various island states.

      1. The reason that Anglicans write “RC” is not because we want to be offensive or snobbish, but because we believe ourselves to be part of the Catholic (ie universal) church. There is a division between us and therefore we specify which part of the Catholic church we mean by writing Roman Catholic. We similarly find it offensive for Roman Catholics to use the word Catholic on its own because that implies that we are not part of Christ’s church.

  1. Barry Tomlinson,
    Ed will not be required to resign his orders, nor to deny the fruitfulness of his previous ministry. He will simply have grace piled upon grace as he receives priesthood from the RC church. He has never been, strictly speaking, a priest as the RC Church understands it – but his ministry has, no doubt (for I don’t know him), been grace-filled and fruitful.

    1. I think the helpful analogy concerns currency. My local shop does not accept dollars. Being English it requires pound sterling. That fact does not mean dollars are not money it is simply a fact about where such currency operates. As a Catholic I will need Catholic orders.

      1. We all know the arguments back and forth on both sides, but whatever of the status of his orders, he certainly has been officiating as a priest, and it must be a trial to have to give away all that, humanly speaking, and go through a process to be ordained a priest anew, so to speak.

  2. It is very liberating when you realise that the Church that Our Lord founded is not about buildings and structures. You are part of the same communion on earth and in heaven, whether you are in a brick shack, a prefab hut in Tunbridge Wells or an ancient baroque basilica. Good luck.

  3. Admin,
    Fair enough comment. But we must surely accept, also, that what Maurice writes about the Catholic Church’s perception of Ed’s ‘priesthood’ is entirely correct. No doubt Ed would accept that himself if push came to shove: his actions patently demonstrate such!

  4. This makes me think of part of St Ignatius’ Principle and Foundation:
    “Therefore we must be so poised that we do not cling to any created thing as though it were our ultimate good, but remain open to the possibility that love may demand of us poverty rather than riches, sickness rather than health, dishonour rather than honour, a short life rather than a long one, because God alone is our security, refuge and strength.” (adapted by G Hughes.)

    All the time we cling to other things we cannot truly respond freely to God’s love. Here I am preaching to myself as it is going to be very hard leaving people and places behind but maybe, just maybe the result in the long run will be that we love God better.

  5. Given the spirit with which you embrace communion with the Holy See—is that neutral enough?—I’m certain that the spirit with which you served the Church of England was full of grace. I for one am happy to have you with us.

  6. Apologies to come into this debate late in the day, but I have come across your blog as a result of someone visiting my website with the search string “resigning Anglican Orders” – I though some insights from someone who has done this might help. Firstly, a point of clarification. The term used in law is “relinquishment”. A priest, under a law over 100 years old , may relinquish the rights and privileges of Anglican Orders. This does NOT nullify Ordination or prior Ministry, it just simply says “I no longer wish to exercise my Anglican Orders”. Its actually a simple process, although googling a draft form is not easy to do. I have a copy of a draft form and would be happy to supply to anyone who wants it. The process for me was simple, and handled by the Diocese a no cost to me. I know of one priest who was told he had to foot the bill, but the bishop changed his mind when the Union rep was bought in. I relinquished my Orders to be Ordained sub conditione into a liberal Old Catholic jurisdiction, and all went without a hitch.

    Relinquishing Orders does place a Priest on the Lambeth list for life – not the “naughty boy’s” list but the other list that Bishop’s hold of Priests who should not be licensed. I have never seen this as a problem because I have no intention of ever returning. It has no effect on pension rights, as these are frozen at teh point of leaving, as I am sure you know.

    What is a farce is that should you ever change your mind and wish to return to the good old C of E, a simple application to the presiding Archbishop and some enquires are made. If all goes well the deed is effectively torn up !!!!!!

    Hope this helps anyone who is considering this route.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>