Volume 8, Issue 27

Christmas/Epiphany 2014-15 A.D.

The Holy Family
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Editorial:

You are reading the 27th issue of the Koinonia. At this Christmas and Epiphany tide, we would like to share snippets of Anglo Catholicism starting with an
article about the great Anglo Catholic poet T.S. Eliot written by Canon Patrick Comerford, a visit to the cradle of the Oxford Movement- Pusey House, Christ Church
Oxford and Journeying...- Bishop Leo Michael’s recollection of a trip to India that could have been his final journey. Thanks to God’s eternal mercy and the wonderful
members of the Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite Church, family and friends, I returned home. This is a testimonial to God’s mercy. Attractive Ordo Kalendars are
available. Our sincere thanks to Brother Rodd Umlauf, and his sister, professional Photographer Jody Partin who granted us permission to use her photos in this edition
of Ordo Kalendar. God bless them. Do think of Koinonia and HCCAR in your charitable giving for the greater glory of God! May the eternal mercy and love of God see
us through in the year of our Lord 2015 too. Blessings of this Christmas and Epiphany Tide to you and all your loved ones. God’s grace filled New 2015 +Leo & Holly

Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary welcomes you!
Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary (HTAS) is owned
and administrated by the Holy Catholic Church
Anglican Rite of the diocese of Holy Trinity and
Great Plains. It’s location in Kansas City, midAmerica makes travel easy to meet the campus
schedule. It forms part of a long tradition of
the Holy Catholic Church of Anglican Rite and
continues this important work of evangelization
of the Kingdom of Christ in the United States of
America and beyond its mission territories.

With the advancement of communications, Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary will offer online and on campus training for its students.
Holy Trinity Anglican Seminary firmly believes that Good Formation
will ensure FRUITFUL Ministry. Keeping in mind the Great Commission of the Lord, HTAS will train its candidates in strong Scriptural
foundation, Sacramental worship in the Apostolic Tradition as enunciated in the conservative Anglican Tradition. With qualified faculty and
commitment to the cause of priestly formation, Holy Trinity Anglican
Seminary is set to impart the traditional Anglican orthodoxy even in the
emerging social and pastoral challenges. The seminary will also offer
courses for lay students as well.

The Seminary primarily serves the Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite while students belonging to other denominations are welcome to participate in our program of study and reflection. The Holy
Trinity Anglican Seminary will soon be accredited with a view to conferring the Bachelor’s Degree in Theology.

Holy Catholic Church pays special attention to the formation of her ministers. Church directives require that candidate to the
priesthood undergo a minimum of three years devoted to an intense and
specifically priestly formation. These directives are implemented at this
seminary, with particular emphasis on the Anglican traditions of the
Holy Catholic Church.

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Let us Make Time for God
Join the Morning and Evening Prayer call
during this Lent. Wake up with God. You
can join the prayer conference in the rhythm
of daily morning and evening prayer. We
have dedicated clergy and postulants faithfully hosting the prayer call daily at 7:00
am and 7:00 pm central time. Ask your
clergy for the phone number.

In the Koinonia masthead, the circle with the cross in the center symbolizes the paten and the diverse elements which form a whole. The Mosaic
represents the great cloud of witnesses and the church tradition. The red
in the letters represents the blood of Christ with the font comprised of individual pieces of letters that are not joined until the blood unifies them. Koinonia is the official publication of the Anglican Province of the Holy Catholic Church-Anglican Rite (HCCAR) aka Anglican Rite Catholic Church.
It is published quarterly at St. James Anglican Church, 8107 S. Holmes
Road, Kansas City, MO 64131. Phone: 816.361.7242 Fax: 816.361.2144.
Editors: The Rt. Rev. Leo Michael & Holly Michael, Koinonia header: Phil
Gilbreath; email: koinonia@holycatholicanglican.org or visit us on the web
at: www.holycatholicanglican.org Cover picture: Painting of Pompeo Batoni
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, photo by
Bishop Leo Michael.

The College of Bishops
Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite
The Rt. Rev. Leo J. Michael, Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of Holy Trinity and Great Plains
8107 S. Holmes Rd, Kansas City, MO 64131, USA Ph: (816) 361-7242 Fax: 816 361-2144 Email: bpleo@holycatholicanglican.org

September 24, 2014 A.D. Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham

Agreement of Inter-communion Between
The Anglican Diocese of Arizona And The Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite
We, the Bishops of the respective churches, as a sign of recognition that we are in mutual spiritual kinship and support within the historic tradition of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
Church, do hereby sign this Agreement of Inter-communion between the Anglican Diocese of
Arizona and the Holy Catholic Church Anglican Rite. We agree to the following provisions:
1. Each Communion recognizes the catholicity and independence of the other and maintains its
own.
2. Each Communion agrees to admit members of the other Communion to participate in the
sacraments.
3. Inter-communion does require from either Communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion, or liturgical practice characteristic of the primitive catholic faith and
apostolic order as expounded by the ancient catholic bishops and doctors of the catholic church
and hold all essential elements of the Christian Faith enunciated in the Affirmation of St. Louis.
This agreement becomes effective at once even though it needs be accepted by each body’s Convention/Synod when convening next.
The Rt. Rev. Leo J Michael
The Rt. Rev. James R. McNeley
The Rt. Rev. Kenneth H. Kinner
The Rt. Rev. Edmund A.S. Jayaraj
The Rt. Rev. Ronald L. Greeson
The Rt. Rev. David G. McMannes

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Journeying...

View of Lourdes Basilica taken from the Castle

H

olly and I planned an action packed journey abroad:
London to Lourdes, France then back to London,
then on to India for our tsunami relief follow-up.
On our first leg to London, we stayed with our priest friend Fr.
Britto, who had just returned from India. We spent our first evening in London, on Walthamstow Abbey grounds. The bells of the
Abbey pealed through the stillness of the quiet evening.
The next day we made a dashing tour to the National Art Gallery, an amazing free collection of treasures. We were particularly
enthralled by the religious art painted by the Masters. We headed
to Piccadilly Circus, a busy square in the heart of London, where
we took in the bustling activity, lights, statues, and interesting architecture.
Fr. Britto drove us to Oxford so I could visit the Pusey House,

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the center of the Oxford Movement.
The kind Steward gave us a personal tour of the Pusey House,
the Library, and the Archive. The chapel appeared small from outside, but was huge inside. (See pictures in the articles Oxford Movement and Pusey House)
We also visited St. Paul’s Book Center by Westminster Cathedral
where Holly had arranged a book signing thanks to Fr. Francy Kochupaliath and Dr. Christopher Shell. A couple of Facebook friends
stopped by to purchase her book, Crooked Lines. (below left). Holly also caught up with a high school friend, a flight attendant who
happened to be in London at the same time.
We also enjoyed a pleasant walk along Thames to Tate Gallery to
see William Blake’s poetry.
The time came for our short flight to Lourdes, a little village in
France, where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette of
Soubirou in 1859. At first, no one believed the teenager, including
a parish priest and bishop. Yet the lady asked her to come and visit
her at the Massabielle grotto eighteen times.
Eager to make this part of our trip one of prayerful reflection,
we finally reached the hotel--just a few minutes from Massabielle
grotto. Fr. Luca and Elisa his wife drove fifteen hours from Italy,
from the southern border of Austria across France to meet us.
What a beautiful fellowship! Though my Italian was rusty and
their English a little choppy, the four of us chatted and laughed and
had a wonderful time.
We visited the grotto often to pray and meditate. One evening,

The miraculous spring that appeared as directed by the B.V.M

Candlelight Procession at Lorudes

Italian TV was broadcasting the rosary. We happened to be seated
in the front row and Fr. Luca and Elisa’s friends saw us on their
Italian TV. Fr. Luca, wearing his cassock, and with his finesse in
Italian and French, helped several young people who approached
him for counseling.
Behind the Basilica, a hill led up to a mount with stations of the
cross along the way. We prayed the stations of the cross ascending
from the back of the church along a long steep walk. The descent
led us to the grotto.
The highlight of our visit was our celebration of the Holy Mass
at the crypt. A friendly sacristan set up for the Mass after we introduced ourselves as Anglo Catholic and not Roman Catholic clergy.
With thousands flocking to this holy site, we wanted to thank
and remember all our dear members of our church and offer
prayers. We had three Masses on the subsequent days.
After Fr. Luca and Elisa left Lourdes in Big Blue (their car) we
returned to the Shrine. This time I knelt exactly at the same spot
that Saint Bernadette knelt beholding the Blessed Virgin.

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I had a wonderful vision of our Lord!
Beside the niche where the Blessed Virgin stood, I saw the
countenance of the Lord: His mouth, nose, eyes, hair! His face! I
wondered if I was dreaming. I pointed it out to Holly and she witnessed it, too. Below is the picture, but we saw it even more clearly
in person.
Then, on the 4th of November we alighted our plane and flew
off to Bangalore. After visiting with my dear mother for a couple of
days, we headed to Nagapattinam. Mr. Rethinam, the school headmaster whom we had met after the aftermath of Tsunami, was our
guide once again. Barely three months earlier he was hit by a van.

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Thrown of off his bicycle, strangers took him to the hospital. His
survival was a miracle. We found him as we had known him, very
happy and active. (below in the white shirt)
We began our journey the same day we landed, knowing we had
much to accomplish in one week. Our ministry began by visiting

With his men, fruitfully employed he smiled and showed us
how the pulley system worked. Many men in “heave-ho” fashion
pushed a large wooden wheel in a circle, bringing large boats into
the harbor.
Arasi

about fifty of the tsunami orphans (now adults) at Mr. Rethinam’s
residence. As they came and went, they shared their then and now
stories. Some of them had received their CD and used it toward
their marriage, childbirth, education, or employment expenses.

Mr. Rethinam led us on a search for a teenager whom Holly
had interviewed ten years ago. With the newly built government
Tsunami houses, families had relocated.
How do you find a person without a proper address? In India, the typical method is through acquaintances. We began our
search for Tamil’s mother whose name was Selvi. We found many
Selvis. We hit the tea shops (petti shops), the yellow pages of
the neighborhood. After several streets and hours, we reached the
home of Selvi, the mother of Arasi. The next day, Arasi met us at
Mr. Rethinam’s house, now a young mother with two children.
A gathering of the fifty boys and girls at Kalangarai (Light

Several accepted the original CD’s deposited in their names. Mr.
Rethinam had maintained a meticulous file, following up with the
kids and counseling them, even after they had moved from their
previous addresses.
Akkaraipettai, Keechankuppam – We met Balbu Dass ten years
ago, in Father Xavier’s office. He had lost his business to the tsunami. Then, we provided funds so he could start his business and
provide employment for fifty families. He hauled boats from sea
with man-powered pulleys so that boats could be repaired. He had
seven such stations and all was lost in the Tsunami. After our help,
his men pulled hundreds of boats from underwater.

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House) run by the Jesuit fathers was our grand finale. Though it
was monsoon season, and pouring down rain at time, the tsunami
victims turned survivors arrived. Some rode hours on a bus or the
back of a motorcycle. One young girl, five days away from giving
birth, rode a bus for several hours. During the meeting and dinner,
the dear departed were remembered in prayer. Each of the orphans
were given the original bank documents.
The Fever
Visiting the once tsunami-ravished villages, and time spent in
interviews and counseling, we hardly slept. At night, mosquitoes
buzzed around our heads. One evening, I felt a drilling in my back
that wasn’t like the other bites.
For two evenings, I suffered with a 104 degree fever and visited
the doctor on the next street. After many prescriptions and two
shots of parecetemol (fever reducer), I was growing weaker and
more tired.
The next evening we traveled back Bangalore, a twelve-hour bus
ride. The fever crept higher as the bus began to move.
I can only imagine Holly’s plight, forcing pills and water in me
to bring the fever down. At the break of dawn, we finally arrived
in Bangalore.

Holly asked my family for the best hospital in town and after
being admitted in the emergency room, the blood test proved positive for Dengue fever. (This fever was the cause of my sister’s demise just a couple of years ago).
We awaited our turn to be admitted into a room. And by then
more of my family had arrived. Severely dehydrated, I was given
I.V. fluids, but grew oblivious to my surroundings.
My niece begged to stay with us, knowing that Aunty Holly was
all alone, but we asked her to go home.
Later that night, my blood pressure began to plummet with
multiple organ failure and I was whisked off to the ICU.
Dropping blood platelet count was the next critical phase of
dengue fever.
It’s certainly by the grace of God that I’m alive, else Holly would
have had to bury me in Bangalore, India.
Thanks to the mercy of God and intercessions of family and
friends and especially the beloved clergy and members of the Holy
Catholic Church Anglican Rite, I am alive and well.
Someone said, God is not done with you as yet. What could have
been my journey to eternity, resulted in a miraculous recovery.
I have dedicated to work for the Lord all the more and for the
cure of His flock. Far left, Roger Pierce (Holly’s Facebook friend’s
husband) is in Bangalore and
makes a surprise visit after Holly’s
online plea for prayers.

Here is the fruit of our visit
TSUNAMI 2004 - Still Wading through Waves of Hope by
Holly Michael. Our Church
continues to touch the lives of
a couple of hundred orphans.
Your purchase of Holly’s book
on Amazon.com provides a
detailed then and now account of our tsunami relief
work.

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OXFORD
MOVEMENT

The term ‘Oxford Movement’ is often used to describe the whole of what might be called the Catholic revival in the Church of England. More properly it refers to the activities and ideas of an initially
small group of people in the University of Oxford
who argued against the increasing secularisation
of the Church of England, and sought to recall it to
its heritage of apostolic order, and to the catholic
doctrines of the early church fathers. The success
of this theological task was so great, one might argue, that it is now difficult to distinguish between
those who were given the name Tractarians (see
below) and the wider Anglo-Catholic wing of the
church which built on and developed their ideas.
Origins: In the early 1830s, at Oriel College in Oxford, a growing
number of young and extremely able Fellows, informally grouped
around the slightly older John Keble, were increasingly outspoken
about the needs and shortcomings of the contemporary church.
These were heady times in England. Catholic emancipation had
come, and the forces surrounding the Reform Act of 1832 were

felt in all walks of life. The old status quo was being threatened,
but many questions about church government and doctrine were
left unanswered. There was a feeling that there was everything to
play for. In Dean Church’s words, the leading figures of the Oxford
movement were ‘men of large designs’.
John Henry Newman dated the beginning of the Oxford Movement to Keble’s Assize Sermon of July 1833, on National Apostasy.
The subject matter may seem remote: a protest against parliamentary legislation to reduce the absurdly large number of bishoprics in the Church of Ireland. But the theme was crucial. Was the
Church of England a department of the Hanoverian state, to be
governed by the forces of secular politics, or was it an ordinance of
God. Were its pastors priests of the Catholic Church (as the Prayer
Book insisted) or ministers of a Calvinistic sect?
Newman, Vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Richard Hurrell Froude, a junior fellow of Oriel, and William
Palmer, a fellow of Worcester, joined with Keble to launch a series
of Tracts for the Times, developing these themes (hence the name
Tractarians). During the following eight years, ninety such Tracts
were published. Did Baptism bestow an indelible character on the
soul? What does ‘consecration’ of the eucharistic elements signify?
Was the Reformation and Elizabethan Settlement a release from
papal bondage, a disaster imposed by a heretical state, or a sophisticated via media between these two extremes? How were the
‘golden ages’ of the early Church Fathers and seventeenth century
Anglican theology to be recovered?
From the very beginning, the history of the Oxford Movement
is a history of controversy. The jostlings of university politics which
now might seem insignificant were in fact crucial to the future of
the Church of England. The unsuccessful attempt of the Tractarians to prevent Renn Dickson Hampden (later Bishop of Hereford), whose theology they viewed with suspicion, from becoming
Regius professor of divinity is a case in point. The publication in
1838 of Froude’s Remains, is another. Froude went much further
than anything hitherto in asserting the Church of England’s inherent Catholic heritage. Catholicism is not confined to the Roman
communion, nor Orthodoxy to the eastern churches. Perhaps the
greatest explosion occurred in response to Newman’s Tract Ninety,
which appeared in 1841, and argued that there was nothing in the
Thirty-nine Articles contrary to the Council of Trent.
Edward Bouverie PuseyIn 1834, another young fellow of Oriel,
Edward Bouverie Pusey threw in his lot with the Tractarians, contributing a characteristically learned tract on Baptism. Keble had
retired from Oxford in the early 1820s. The weight of leadership
of the Oxford Movement had largely been borne by Newman, the
Vicar of the University Church, but in the wake of the furore which
accompanied Tract Ninety he increasingly withdrew to his semimonastic establishment at Littlemore. Pusey was inevitably seen as
the emerging figurehead of the movement in Oxford.
In 1843 he preached a sermon before the University entitled
‘The Holy Eucharist a comfort to the penitent’. Much of the sermon appealed to the Fathers and to the Caroline divines but in
an increasingly politicised situation it was too much for the Evangelicals - including Philip Wynter, the Vice Chancellor - to tolerate. Despite Pusey’s exhaustive explanations and massive public

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support, he was suspended from preaching for two years. No
sooner had Pusey served his suspension than he was thrust into
an even more prominent position. Newman was received into
the Roman Communion in October 1845. Pusey was the only
one to whom his bereft followers could turn.
Richard Church’s celebrated history of the Oxford Movement ends in 1845, the year of Newman’s conversion. Certainly
by this time the Tractarian disputes were a thoroughly national
phenomenon. Encouraged by Tractarian theology there was a
great revival of interest in liturgy and church architecture, stemming not least from the Cambridge Camden Society, which had
been formed in 1839. Among its leaders was John Mason Neale,
for whom the society was not simply artistic and antiquarian,
but very much theological.
Its journal, the Ecclesiologist, which first appeared in
1841, argued for the importance of symbol and decoration in the mysteries of
worship and championed
the ideas of a young Roman
Catholic architect, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who saw Gothic as the
only proper style of Church
architecture, reflecting as it
did the continual religious
priorities of striving for
heaven through prayer, sacrament and the Christian
virtues.
The progress made by
the ‘Puseyites’, as they were
often called, continued to
go hand in hand with controversy. Newman’s conversion was as notorious as
any of his tracts. With the
Gorham Judgement (which
saw a Judicial Committee of
the Privy Council overturn
a bishop’s decision not to
institute to a parish a priest
who held an unorthodox
doctrine of baptism), many
left the Church of England, convinced that it was
bound by an Erastian state,
among them Archdeacon Henry, later Cardinal, Manning. In
the 1850s Archeacon Dennison, of Taunton, was unsuccessfully
prosecuted for teaching the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence. At the same time there were increasing vocations to the
religious life. On Trinity Sunday 1841, Pusey heard the first profession of a nun in the Church of England for three centuries,
Mother Marian Hughes. Pusey, along with Neale and such other

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great names as Richard Meux Benson, Priscilla Lydia Sellon and
Thomas Thelluson Carter, was a driving force behind this revival.
The strong doctrinal theology preached by the Tractarians had
by now found its expression in contexts very far removed from the
Universities. From the very first, the call to holiness - individual
and corporate - had been at the heart of the Tractarians’ teaching. It was inevitable that their attentions would turn to the social
and evangelistic problems of the industrial working class. Young
men who had sat at Pusey’s feet found themselves called to work
in new and demanding slum parishes. The ritual innovations of
they were accused were entirely rooted in the desperate pastoral
needs they encountered. Miss Sellons’s Devonport Sisters of Mercy
worked with the clergy of St Peter’s Plymouth in the cholera epidemics of the late 1840s,
and petitioned the parish priest, Fr George
Rundle Prynne, for a
celebration of the eucharist each morning
to strengthen them for
their work. So began
the first daily mass in
the Church of England
since the Reformation.
Similarly the clergy
of St Saviour’s, Leeds
(a parish Pusey had
endowed), laid what
medicines they had on
the altar at each morning’s communion, before carrying them out
to the many dozens of
their parishioners who
would die of cholera
that very day.
These slum churches
and their priests are
far too many to mention, but their audacity and their piety are
to be marvelled at. The
Church of England, at
this time, looked upon
ritual as a wicked aping of a Papist Church.
Vestments were horrific
to most, and yet in places such as the mission church of St George’s in the East, thuribles
were swung, genuflecting was encouraged, the sign of the cross was
made frequently, devotion to the blessed sacrament was taken for
granted. Confessions were heard, holy anointing was practised.
Here a group of priests, led by Fr Charles Lowder, were carrying
through their interpretation of the Tractarian message. The poor
must be brought the ministry of Christ, in the celebration of the

Movement proper had long ceased to be. Though he did not see
the end of dissent and dispute, Pusey (who died in 1882) lived to
witness the theology of a Catholic Church of England carried into
all areas of the land. The rediscovered emphases on apostolic succession and the Catholicity of the church, on priesthood, on sacrament and sacrifice, on prayer, holiness and the beauty of worship,
are the Tractarians’ gifts to their successors. A glance round the
contemporary Church of England, still vastly divergent but nevertheless teeming with colourful decorations, revised liturgies, ancient hymns, and thousands of processions, aumbries, altars, oratories and retreat houses, reminds us just how dramatically the life
of the English Church was renewed by the Catholic vision of those
Oxford ‘men of large designs’. The Oxford movement ( text the
courtesy of Puseyhouse.org) Images Bishop Leo and Holly Michael

Visit to Oxford and Canterbury by Night
Every time we visit England we gratefully remember how the
faith was sown, defended, lost at times, rebounced. It very much
resonates with our unchanged faith in the changing times. So
we visited Oxford and took part in the Evensong, visited the pub
where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (See their signatures)met and
finally took a tour of Canterbury Cathedral from the outside, as
we had seen it before and was closed at night. (See pictures below)

sacraments and the preaching of the gospel.
Beauty and holiness were to go into the midst of squalor and
depression, as a witness to the Catholic faith in Jesus Christ, the
incarnate God, present and active in his world. And, perhaps most
significantly, the sick and dying were to receive this sacramental
presence as far as was possible. Deathbed confessions, the oil of
unction, even, occasionally, communion from the reserved sacrament became the priests’ weapons against, for example, the appalling East London cholera epidemic of 1866.
The ritualists gave rise to a long and bitter battle, in which
priests were imprisoned, many more dismissed, parish riots took
place, rent-a-mob crowds were brought in, and bishops issued
edicts from palaces to areas into which they would not dare set
foot. Priests such as Alexander Heriot Mackonochie were persecuted and prosecuted zealously and repeatedly for practices which
are now not just acceptable but actually the norm in the Church of
England - using lighted altar candles, for example. Eventually even
a bishop - Edward King of Lincoln - found himself in court defending his practice of the Catholic faith.
To tell the rest of the story would be to write the whole history
of the modern Church of England. But by this time, the Oxford

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Above, the pub where C. S. Lewis and Tolkien met and wrote
where Holly is sitting. Above right their witnessing to their
visit to the pub.

Canterbury Cathedral by Night

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Half a century after his death,

T. S. Eliot remains the greatest
Anglo-Catholic poet

T

by Patrick Comerford

he American-born English poet, playwright and
literary critic, Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888-1965),
is perhaps the most important poet in the English language of the 20th century. He is one of the
greatest examples of how Anglican spirituality is
expressed in poetry and drama, and he died half a
century ago, on 4 January 1965.

Many readers know T.S.Eliot for  Old Possum’s Book of
Practical Cats  (1939), the inspiration for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s
musical Cats (1981). But he was first recognised as a poet 100 years
ago with the poem ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’ (1915).
It was followed by some of the best-known poems, including
‘The Waste Land’ (1922), ‘The Hollow Men’ (1925), ‘Ash Wednesday’ (1930), and the four poems in his Four Quartets  (1943). 

Eliot was born in St Louis, Missouri, the youngest child in
a prominent Unitarian and academic family. He studied philosophy
at Harvard (1906-1909) and at the Sorbonne (1910–1911) before
returning to Harvard (1911-1914). He then moved to Merton College, Oxford, but left after a year, remarking: “Oxford is very pretty,
but I don’t like to be dead.” By 1916, he had completed a PhD in philosophy for Harvard, but he never returned for his viva voce exam.

Meanwhile, in 1915 he had been introduced to Vivienne
Conversion to Anglicanism
Haigh-Wood. Their tragic marriage was a catalyst for ‘The Waste

In 1922, the same year as the Irish writer James Joyce
Land,’ and inspired the movie  Tom and Viv  (1994). Eliot held published Ulysses, Eliot published ‘The Waste Land.’ The poem inseveral teaching posts, including one at Highgate School where his cludes well-known phrases such as “April is the cruellest month,”
pupils included John Betjeman. By 1917, he was working at Lloyd’s and “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”
Bank.

Eliot’s major poem of the late 1920s, The Hollow

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Men (1925), was written in the context of post-war Europe. It is
deeply indebted to Dante and wrestles with the difficulty of hope
and religious conversion, and with Eliot’s failed marriage. It concludes with some of Eliot’s best-known lines:

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

Recent studies now see in ‘The Waste Land’ poem a description of Eliot’s pilgrimage from the Unitarianism of his childhood to his life-lasting Anglo-Catholicism.

In 1925, he joined the publishers Faber and Gwyer, later Faber and Faber, and spent the rest of his career
there. His major poem that year,  ‘The Hollow Men,’ is indebted to Dante and wrestles with the difficulty of hope
and religious conversion, and with his failed marriage.

On 29 June 1927, Eliot was baptised in Holy Trinity Church, Finstock, outside Witney, by the Revd William Force
Stead, a fellow American, a poet and the chaplain of Worcester

College, Oxford. Stead had encouraged him to read the poems of
George Herbert and John Donne and the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes. A day later, he brought Eliot to be confirmed by Bishop
Thomas Banks Strong of Oxford in his private chapel.

In his recent study of Eliot’s theological opinions and
contributions, Professor Barry Spurr of the University of Sydney
argues that Eliot’s conversion to Anglo-Catholicism in 1927 was
the culmination of his intellectual, cultural, artistic and spiritual development. He also how the doctrinal, devotional and
social principles of Anglo-Catholicism influenced Eliot’s life,
thinking and writing, including his poetry, drama and prose.

Soon after his baptism, Eliot also became a British citizen, and he served as a churchwarden at Saint Stephen’s Church,
Gloucester Road, London. He would describe himself as a “classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and Anglo-Catholic in religion.”

What did Eliot’s conversion to Anglicanism mean
socially in 1927? Virginia Woolf said of his conversion that
“a corpse would seem to me to be more credible.” EM Forster claimed that Eliot had “no trace of religious emotion. He
has not got it; what he seeks is not revelation, but stability.”

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Eliot’s conversion may have been shocking at the time, if
not revolutionary. But the response of his contemporaries, whatever
it may have been, was not going to turn him: “No one ever attempted to convert me; and, looking back on my pre-Christian state of
mind, I do not think that such a campaign would have prospered.”

His conversion to Anglicanism was encouraged through
reading the prayers and sermons of Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626),
Bishop of Winchester. His poem, ‘Journey of the Magi’ (1927), the
first of the Ariel Poems and written shortly after his baptism, begins
with a quotation from a sermon on the Epiphany by Andrewes in
1622:

“It was no summer progress. A cold coming they had
of it at this time of the year, just the worst time of the year to
take a journey, and specially a long journey in. The ways deep,
the weather sharp, the days short, the sun farthest off, in solstitio
brumali, ‘the very dead of winter’.”

Eliot opens his Journey of the Magi with similar words:

A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.

In his essay, For Lancelot Andrewes: an Essay on Style and
Order (1928), published the following year, Eliot argued that Andrewes’s sermons “rank with the finest English prose of their time,
of any time.” Eliot spoke of his indebtedness to the bishop’s writings: he is “the first great preacher of the English Catholic Church,”
he had “the voice of a man who had a formed visible church behind him, who spoke with the old authority and the new culture.” 

For Eliot, “The intellectual achievement and the prose
style of Hooker and Andrewes came to complete the structure of
the English Church as the philosophy of the thirteenth century
crowns the Catholic Church … the achievement of Hooker and
Andrewes was to make the English Church more worthy of intellectual assent. No religion can survive the judgment of history un-

less the best minds of its time have collaborated in its construction; if the Church of Elizabeth is worthy of the age of Shakespeare
and Jonson, that is because of the work of Hooker and Andrewes.

Annie Dunne and the impressive Catholic services to which she
took him.”
Ash Wednesday … a conversion poem

‘Ash Wednesday’ was published in its complete form in
1930, three years after his conversion to Anglicanism in 1927 and
it appears in his Selected Poems before his other first Christian
works, the ‘Ariel Poems,’– ‘Journey of the Magi’ (1927), ‘A Song
for Simeon’ (1928) ‘Animula’ (1929) ‘Marina’ (1930) and the much
later ‘The Cultivation of Christmas Trees’ (1956).

The complete ‘Ash Wednesday’ was first published in
April 1930 in a small book with a limited edition of 600 signed
copies, followed by two print runs of 2,000 each in Britain and the
US.

“The writings of both Hooker and Andrewes illustrate that determination to stick to essentials, that awareness of the needs of the
time, the desire for clarity and precision on matters of importance,
and the indifference to matters indifferent, which was the general
policy of Elizabeth … Andrewes is the first great preacher of the
English Catholic Church.”

He was influenced too by Nicholas Ferrar’s life at Little
Gidding, and by the works of Richard Hooker and Jeremy Taylor.

‘Ash Wednesday’ (1930), Eliot’s first long poem after becoming an Anglican, has been described as his conversion poem.
But he regarded the Four Quartets as his masterpiece, and the collection earned him his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. It comprises four poems: ‘Burnt Norton’ (1936), ‘East Coker’ (1940), ‘The
Dry Salvages’ (1941) and ‘Little Gidding’ (1942).
Childhood nurse from Co Cork

Many biographers suggest Eliot’s conversion to Anglicanism may have been helped by his childhood experiences in the
company of his Irish nurse, Annie Dunne from Co Cork. He wrote
in 1930: “The earliest personal influence I remember, besides that
of my parents, was … Annie Dunne, to whom I was greatly attached.”

She took the young Eliot with her “to the little Catholic
church which stood on the corner of Locust Street and Jefferson
Avenue when she went to make her devotions,” and also took him
to Mass in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Writing in the Criterion in 1927 shortly after his baptism,
Eliot recalled that when he was a six-year-old, Annie had discussed
with him about the ways of proving the existence of God. She gave
him a glimpse of a liturgical Christianity that was very different
from his Unitarian background. James E Miller suggests that the
seeds for his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism “had been sown by

The title, of course, refers to ‘Ash Wednesday,’ the first
of the forty days of Lent, and the poem deals with the struggle
that ensues when one who has lacked faith in the past strives to
move towards God. It is a richly but ambiguously allusive poem
and deals with the aspiration to move from spiritual barrenness to
hope for human salvation. The poem is concerned with personal
salvation in an age of uncertainty, where the weariness of giving
up to a creed weighs heavily on the speaker: 

(Why should the agéd eagle stretch its wings?)

“Why should I mourn 

The vanished power of the usual reign? 

Eliot’s journey to Christianity was along a long and
winding path. Yet this poem, which is not so much about God as
a prayer to God, displays a great spiritual maturity in a relatively
new convert. 

Koinonia Page 15

‘Ash Wednesday’ constitutes the greatest leap in Eliot’s verse and
life and the greatest pause in his poetic writings before the hiatus
between his plays and The Four Quartets.

In ‘Ash Wednesday,’ his poetic persona has somehow
found the courage, through spiritual exhaustion, to seek faith.
That faith demands complete submission, including the admission that faith must ultimately come from without because what
is within has been exhausted. If ‘The Hollow Men’ (1925) admits
powerlessness over damnation, ‘Ash Wednesday’ admits powerlessness as a prelude to, or a requirement for, salvation.

Yet if ‘Ash Wednesday’ is about penitence, it is also about
repentance. The opening lines, from Shakespeare’s Sonnet XXIX,
use the verb “turn” three times. “Turn” echoes the Greek word for
repentance, μετάνοια (metanoia), literally “changing one’s mind”
– as the prophets called on Israel to “turn back, turn from your
wicked ways.”

‘Ash Wednesday’ forms a personal liturgy. It is a song of
death and hoped-for rebirth, a song of hope while doubting hope,
a song of faith while seeking faith, a song of love for one who has
known little love, a prayer for mercy that acknowledges mercy as
undeserved. 
A poet’s reputation

Eliot’s reputation has been plagued by accusations that he
held anti-Semitic and anti-Irish views. In a study of Eliot’s impact
on Anglican theology, Professor Barry Spurr deals convincingly
with the accusations of anti-Semitism. But it is difficult to imagine that someone who was so close to his Irish nurse in childhood
could hold negative opinions of Irish people.

In ‘The Waste Land,’ Eliot quotes from Wagner’s Tristan
und Isolde and his reference to the Irish princess. The couple are
sailing from Ireland to Cornwall, and a sailor sings a song with
lines that translate:

The wind blows fresh
        
To the Homeland
          My Irish Girl
          Where are you lingering?

Sweeney is a baffling person who, in the words of TH
Thompson, “runs in and out [of Eliot’s] poems like a naughty boy,
with bad manners and rude behaviour.” He is the main character in
three poems written in 1917-1919 – ‘Sweeney Among the Nightingales,’ ‘Sweeney Erect’ and ‘Mr Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service’
– and appears in the fragments of ‘Sweeney Agonistes,’ and in ‘The
Fire Storm’ in ‘The Waste Land.’

There is little consensus on what Sweeney represents, and
it ranges from a stereotypically drunken, Irish Catholic brute to an

Koinonia Page 16

appealingly unsophisticated
“natural man.”

Another Irish figure
created by Eliot is Sir Henry
Harcourt-Reilly, the psychiatrist in The Cocktail Party who
merrily sings a refrain of the
bawdy song, ‘The One Eyed
Riley.’ The character’s partblindness may have been partly inspired by James Joyce’s
sight problems.
Four Irish friends

Perhaps the best way
to evaluate Eliot’s attitude to Irish people is to look at his friendship with four key Irish contemporary literary figures: the writers
WB Yeats, James Joyce and Louis MacNeice and the Jesuit Martin
D’Arcy.

Through his contacts with Bertrand Russell and Ezra
Pound, Eliot mixed with a group including the aging Irish poet
William Butler Yeats. At first, Eliot expresses distaste for Yeats,
and even mocked Yeats’s membership of the Theosophical Society.
Later, following his attendance at the first performance of Yeats’s
one-act play, At the Hawk’s Well, in 1916 and after the publication
of ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ in 1919, Eliot softened his opinion of
Yeats’s poetry,.

In his review of Joyce’s Ulysses in 1923, Eliot favourably
mentions Yeats. But it was not until 1935, in the  Criterion, that
Eliot publicly praised Yeats, when he called him “the greatest poet
of his time.” Eliot continued to praise Yeats, who was born into a
prominent (Anglican) Church if Ireland family; however, in a lecture in Dublin in 1936, Eliot regretted that Yeats “came to poetry
from a Protestant background.” After the death of Yeats, Eliot was
invited to give the first annual Yeats lecture to the Friends of the
Irish Academy in 1940.

Eliot and Joyce first met at the Hotel de l’Elysee in Paris
on 15 August 1920. They dined in Joyce’s favourite restaurant, and
Joyce extended his hospitality several times. Their friendship blossomed after ‘The Waste Land’ and Ulysses were published around
the same time in 1922.

In 1923, when Eliot reviewed Ulysses, he said: “It is a book
to which we are all indebted and from which none of us can escape.” It marked a major shift in literature, he said. “It is, I seriously
believe, a step toward making the modern world possible for art.”

Eliot would look to Joyce for support when he separated
from his wife, and Eliot continued to visit Joyce whenever he was
in Paris. In his Dublin lectures in 1936, Eliot said Joyce “seems to
me the most universal, the most Irish and the most Catholic writer
in English of his generation … What is most truly Irish … is most
truly Catholic.”

Meanwhile, from 1932, Louis MacNeice (1907-1963)
was sending poems to Eliot at Faber and Faber. MacNeice was
the son of an Anglican bishop, John Frederick MacNeice  (18661942), Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel, Emly, Waterford and
Lismore  (1931-1934) and until
his death Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore (1934-1942).
Eliot did not feel these poems by
MacNeice were worth publishing
in a single volume, but he used
several of them in his journal The
Criterion.
In 1934, MacNeice sent Eliot
the long poems that were published
as the book Poems (1935). In 1939, Eliot helped to plan MacNeice’s
tour of the US, arranging engagements in Princeton, Harvard and
Wellesley. The developed a firm friendship, and when MacNeice
died in 1963, Eliot wrote in The Times of his grief and shock at “his
unexpected death” just as Faber was about to publish a new volume
of his verse. He said MacNeice was “a poet of genius,” who “had
the Irishman’s unfailing ear for the music of verse, and he never
published a line that is not good reading.”
Lifelong friendships

Eliot also had a lifelong friendship with the Jesuit philosopher, Father Martin Cyril D’Arcy (1888-1976), whose literary circle
also include Evelyn Waugh, Dorothy L Sayers and WH Auden and
whose parents were born in Ireland.

It was perhaps at D’Arcy’s suggestion that the Irish Jesuits
invited Eliot to Dublin for the first time in January 1936. During
that visit, Eliot lectured in University College Dublin, attended a lecture by Father Roland
Burke-Savage, the Jesuit editor
of Studies, and twice addressed
the English Literary Society at
UCD in Earlsfort Terrace.

Later, D’Arcy’s major
work, The Mind and Heart of
Love, was published by Eliot at
Faber and Faber in 1945.
Later life

When he was offered the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship at Harvard (1932-1933), he left his wife Vivienne in England.
On his return, he filed for divorce, and she spent the rest of her life
in a psychiatric hospital until her death in 1947.

Eliot’s plays included  Murder in the Cathedral  (1935)

and The Cocktail Party (1949).
In
1958,
Archbishop Geoffrey
Fisher of Canterbury
appointed Eliot to
a commission that
produced  The Revised Psalter  (1963).
CS Lewis, once a
harsh critic of Eliot,
was also a member of
the commission, and
during their time on
that
commission
their
antagonism
turned
to
true
friendship.

In 1957, at the age of 68, Eliot secretly married his
second wife, Esmé Valerie
Fletcher. He died in London on 4 January 1965.
His ashes were buried at
Saint Michael’s Church,
East Coker, the Somerset
village from which his
ancestors had emigrated.
A commemorative plaque
in the church quotes from
‘East Coker’: 

In my beginning is my end ... In my end is my beginning.
(Revd Canon Professor) Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism, Liturgy
and Church History, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, an Adjunct Assistant Professor, Trinity College Dublin, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral,
Dublin. He is a regular contributor to Koinonia.. www.patrickcomerford.com
Captions for pictures in sequence
1, The poet T.S.Eliot in a portrait by Gerald Kelly
2, T.S.Eliot is the greatest poet in English in the 20th century
3, The Cocktail Party: T.S.Eliot (centre) with the poets Louis MacNeice, Ted
Hughes, WH Auden and Stephen Spender at a Faber and Faber cocktail party in
the 1960s
4, Merton College, Oxford …Eliot left after a year
5, Merton College, Oxford … Eliot said later: “Oxford is very pretty, but I don’t
like to be dead”
6, No 24 Russell Square, London, where T.S.Eliot worked for Faber and Faber,
is now part of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London
7, A plaque at 24 Russell Square, recalling T.S.Eliot’s working days
8, The tomb of Lancelot Andrewes in Southwark Cathedral ... his prayers and
sermons were critical in T.S.Eliot’s conversion to Anglicanism and had an abiding
influence on his writings (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
9, Father Martin D’Arcy, a Jesuit with Irish parents, may have secured T.S.Eliot’s
invitation to Dublin
10, ‘Now the light falls ... I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope’
(T.S.Eliot, ‘East Coker’) … dusk turns to darkness at Minister Pool in Lichfield
11, ‘At the first turning of the second stair’ ... the stairs to my rooms in Sidney
Sussex College, Cambridge, in 2012
12, A statue of Virginia Woolf in Bloomsbury, London … she said of Eliot’s
conversion that “a corpse would seem to me to be more credible.”

Koinonia Page 17

Bishop Edward Pusey

E

dward Bouverie Pusey was born on August 22, 1800
at the other Pusey House, his father's family seat at
Pusey, not far from Oxford. His father was Philip
Bouverie (d. 1828), a younger son of Jacob Bouverie,
1st Viscount Folkestone, and took the name of Pusey on succeeding to the manorial estates at that place. After Eton and Christ
Church, Pusey was elected in 1824 to a fellowship at Oriel, becoming a member of a common room which already contained some of
the ablest of his contemporaries, and including among them John
Henry Newman and John Keble.
Between 1825 and 1827, he studied Oriental languages and German theology at the University of Göttingen. His first work, published in 1828, as an answer to Hugh James Rose's Cambridge lectures on rationalist tendencies in German theology, showed a good
deal of sympathy with the German "pietists", who had striven to
deliver Protestantism from its decadence; this sympathy was misunderstood, and Pusey was himself accused of holding rationalist
views. The misunderstanding of his position led to the publication
in 1830 of a second part of Pusey's Historical Enquiry, in which
he denied the charge of rationalism. In the years which immediately followed, his thoughts turned in another direction. The revolt
against individualism had begun, and he was attracted to its standard. By the end of 1833 he showed a disposition to make common
cause with those who had already begun to issue the Tracts for the
Times. But "he was not...fully associated in the movement till 1835
and 1836, when he published his tract on baptism and started the
Library of the Fathers" (John Henry Newman, Apologia pro Vita
Sua). In 1828 the Prime Minister - the Duke of Wellington - had

Koinonia Page 18

appointed Pusey to the Regius Chair in Hebrew. As a Canon of
Christ Church and a Doctor of Divinity he added an element of
increased disctinction to the fledgling movement in Oxford.
PUSEY became a close student of the fathers and of that school
of Anglican divines who had continued, or revived, in the 17th
century the main traditions of pre-Reformation teaching. A sermon which he preached before the university in 1843, The Holy
Eucharist a Comfort to the Penitent, so startled the authorities by
the re-statement of doctrines which, though well known to ecclesiastical antiquaries, had faded from the common view, that by
the exercise of an authority which, however legitimate, was almost
obsolete, he was suspended for two years from preaching. The immediate effect of his suspension was the sale of 18,000 copies of the
condemned sermon; its permanent effect was to make Pusey for
the next quarter of a century one of the most influential figures in
the Anglican Church. The Vice-Chancellor's document of suspension is preserved with pride at Pusey House, where it occupies a
place of honour.
The movement to which he had been a later adherent, came to
bear his name: it was popularly known as Puseyism (pre-1845 it
was sometimes called Newmania) and its adherents as Puseyites.
His activity, both public and private, as leader of the movement
was enormous. He was not only on the stage but also behind the
scenes of every important controversy, whether theological or academical. In the Gorham controversy of 1850, in the question of
Oxford reform in 1854, in the prosecution of some of the writers
of Essays and Reviews, especially of Benjamin Jowett, in 1863, in
the question as to the reform of the marriage laws from 1849 to the
end of his life, in the Farrar controversy as to the meaning of everlasting punishment in 1877, Pusey was always busy with articles,
letters, treatises and sermons.

The occasions on which, in his turn, he preached before his
university were all memorable; and some of the sermons were

to the study of which he was the professor; and the Eirenicon, in
which he endeavoured to find a basis of union between the Church
of England and the Church of Rome.
PUSEY is chiefly remembered as the eponymous representative
of the earlier phase of a movement which carried with it no small
part of the religious life of England in the latter half of the 19th century. His own chief characteristic was an almost unbounded capacity for taking pains. His chief influence was that of a preacher and
a spiritual adviser. As a preacher he lacked all the graces of oratory,
but compelled attention by his searching and practical earnestness.
His correspondence as a spiritual adviser was enormous; his deserved reputation for piety and for solidity of character made him
the chosen confessor to whom large numbers of men and women
unburdened their doubts and their sins.
In private life Pusey's habits were simple almost to austerity.
Though fierce with his opponents, he was gentle to those who knew
him, and his munificent charities gave him a warm place in the
hearts of many to whom he was personally unknown. He financed
the building of St Saviour's Church, Leeds, and was instrumental in
the foundation of Ascot Priory. In his domestic life he had some severe trials; his wife died, after eleven years of married life, in 1839;
only one of his daughters survived into adulthood, and his only
son, who was a scholar like-minded with himself, who had shared
many of his literary labours, and who had edited an excellent edition of St Cyril's commentary on the minor prophets, died in 1880,
after many years of suffering. From that time Pusey was seen by
only a few people. His strength gradually declined, and he left Oxford to be cared for by the community of nuns he had founded at
Ascot, where he died on the 16th September 1882. He was buried
at Christ Church in the cathedral of which he had been for fiftyfour years a canon, his body being placed in the vault which already held the bodies of his wife and daughters. In his memory his
friends purchased his library, and bought for it a house in Oxford,
which they endowed with sufficient funds to maintain three librarians, who were charged with the duty of perpetuating the memory
of the principles which he taught, the maintenance of the Catholic
Faith, and the preaching of the Gospel. Their work continues today.

Bishop Edward Pusey’s tomb at Christ Church, Oxford

(Text www.puseyhouse.org.uk Photos; Bishop Leo and Holly Michael.Thanks to
Alex. Farquhar, the Steward.of the Pusey House and Fr. Britto Belevendran who drove
us to Oxford.)

manifestoes which mark distinct stages in the history of the High
Church party of which he was the leader. The practice of confession
in the Church of England practically dates from his two sermons
on The Entire Absolution of the Penitent, in 1846, in which the
revival of high sacramental doctrine is complemented by the advocacy of a revival of the penitential system which medieval theologians had appended to it. The sermon on The Presence of Christ
in the Holy Eucharist, in 1853, first formulated the doctrine round
which almost all the subsequent theology of his followers revolved,
and which revolutionized the practices of Anglican worship. Of his
larger works the most important are his two books on the Eucharist
- The Doctrine of the Real Presence (1855) and The Real Presence
the Doctrine of the English Church (1857); Daniel the Prophet in
which he endeavours to maintain the traditional date of that book;
The Minor Prophets, with Commentary, his chief contribution

Koinonia Page 19

The Reason We Say 'Merry Christmas' By Richard Maffeo

I

n the thirty-eight years I've attended Christmas morning services, I don't remember thinking much about the nativity
crèche. After all, I'd seen the Infant, His parents and shepherds hundreds of times in churches, on front lawns and beneath Christmas trees. They blended long ago into the season's background. But a several Christmases ago, as my wife
and I knelt at an altar, waiting to receive Holy Communion, the plaster figurines in front of us caught my attention. And

I knew why.
My gaze had shifted for a moment to the crucifix behind the pulpit. It loomed thirty feet above the altar and suddenly brought the
Christmas crèche into a new and sobering perspective.
Two thousand years ago, few people in Bethlehem recognized the importance of the stable where Joseph and Mary snuggled their
newborn son. It's not hard to understand why others missed its significance. It wasn't the kind of place you'd expect to find anyone of
importance. The stable was not like the pretty pictures printed on Christmas cards. The grueling journey to Bethlehem left Joseph and
Mary tired and hungry. They longed to find a place to bathe and for a warm bed. Instead, they arrived in a city of strangers, and Joseph
raced in vain from inn to inn, desperately seeking a comfortable place for his wife to lie down. You know the story.
They couldn't find a room in the local inn, so they settled themselves for the night in a darkened corner of a stable, to the smell of manure and rotting straw. But in that stable, Almighty God took the form of a helpless Child and stepped into humanity to reconcile you and
me to Himself. The miraculous birth in that dirty place heralded a cataclysmic transformation in the relationship between us and Himself.
No one in that little town of Bethlehem knew it, but humanity's destiny revolved around that manger -- and Calvary's cross looming
in its shadow. Three decades later, beneath that cross, the manger was a distant memory in Mary's heart. The Child-grown-to-be-a-Man
now hung on a splintered, bloodstained crossbeam. It looked nothing like the smooth and polished cross towering above the altar in front
of me.
On Calvary's cross, Jesus' back laid ripped open by Roman whips. Blood from the roughly woven crown of thorns caked on His forehead. Nails holding him to the wood sent waves of searing pain across His hands and feet. Thirst ravaged his throat.
His strength slowly slipped away as he struggled to breathe. Meanwhile, soldiers jeered, religious leaders mocked, and his friends and
family wept. No one on that hillside knew it, but as Jesus suffered and then died on that cross, God launched the second of His threephased plan to rescue us from the even more horrible destiny our sins had guaranteed us. The crèche is about the Savior's birth; the cross,
about His death.
The crèche cradled God's incarnation; the cross tortured Him. The crèche is about God's Son born into our world; the cross, about
Him paying sin's judgment and dying in our place. But without the third phase -- the empty tomb -- the crèche and the cross would be
meaningless. Without the empty tomb, no one would have hope for life beyond this one. No one would have assurance that we have a
heavenly Father who loves us, grieves with us, yearns for an intimate relationship with us. The crèche, the cross, and the empty tomb
brought God's plan of reconciliation and redemption to completion. Because of that Divine Triad, Christians can know with absolute
certainty that their sins can forgiven. The crèche, the cross and the empty tomb is God's irrevocable declaration that those who believe
with obedient faith the Baby of the crèche became the Man on the cross and resurrected Savior, we have God's promise of eternal life (see
John 3:16). As I received Holy Communion that morning, I prayed I would never again see the crèche simply as a reminder of a long-ago
Bethlehem birth. I hoped -- and continue to hope to this very day -- it will always remind me that God really does love the world so much
that He gave His Son to die in our place. I hope it always reminds me that His birth, death, and resurrection is the reason we say, "Merry
Christmas!"

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