Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Bishop of Quincy's Message to his people


I have been in the Diocese of Quincy three times, and have stayed twice in the retreat house of the Benedictine Community at Bartonville, a real hub of prayer, ecumenism and evangelism. In terms of population and far-flung parishes, the Diocese itself is not unlike Ballarat (Australia) where I was ordained. Quincy has had a succession of godly Anglo-Catholic bishops who have taught and lived the fulness of the Faith, and proclaimed the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. During the time of Bishop Keith Ackerman and his successor Bishop Alberto Morales, the diocese has prayerfully stood firm against enormous odds in the battle in which so many of our North American brothers and sisters have reluctantly found themselves. The following anointed message of Bishop Morales to his people is, in fact, a real encouragement to orthodox Anglicans all over the world, especially in those places where evangelicals and anglo-catholics have been completely marginalised. I love what the Bishop says about enduring the night. May the Lord continue to pour out his Holy Spirit on the Diocese of Quincy!  


The Diocese of Quincy has become a city of faith, 
not of revenge or political fights or rivalries

By The Right Reverend J. Alberto Morales, OSB 
September 15, 2013

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,

PAX.


Let me begin this letter by quoting from Psalm 46: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth shall change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea."

This Psalm is known as Luther's Psalm, because he sang it during difficult times. We do not know the context in which it was written, but it seems to have been in a time of political, social and religious instability. Perhaps it was a time of war and the city of Jerusalem itself was threatened. In the life of the Church and in her pastoral ministry, we face many moments such as these: difficulties in our ministry which demand a solid Christian witness, family difficulties, personal difficulties and congregational difficulties. These are all times where our faith is tested. The apostle John tells us that it is faith that gives us victory (1 John 5, 4-5). But, what kind of faith are we talking about? Pure faith, which consists of knowing God. The Psalmist stresses the many things that he knows about God: God is strong, God is a refuge, God is our strength, God is our helper. Many times the difficulties we face paralyze us. But the Psalmist tells us that we need not fear any adverse situation, "Though the earth shall change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea..." When we become people of faith, not of fear, our faith becomes living faith. Faith that reveals to us the secret of security in God.

The Psalmist had no doubts. In faith, there is no place for doubt. We know that God will give us, his holy people, His help. But we must also know that that help will come at the dawning of the day, that is, in God's time. There will be a night which will be a time of uncertainty, of difficulties, of despair, of persecution; when the city of God is "not helped." Faith must sustain us during the night, knowing that in the morning the Divine help will come. God is with us. God is our refuge. God gives us security. Beloved in Christ, the Diocese of Quincy has been through that night. A night in which the faith in each of our hearts has nurtured the hope and revealed the surety that God will bring us joy in the morning. It was in that morning, on September 10, that I received the great news from our Chancellor, Tad Brenner, who said: "Look what God has done. We won the court case." My mind went immediately to the Psalm we are sharing: "God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth shall change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea."

In this Eucharistic Liturgy let us first of all, give thanks to God for his generosity towards us. Let us also thank all of those who have dedicated so much time, money and effort for this cause. Let us give thanks to God because the Diocese of Quincy has become a city of faith, not of revenge or political fights or rivalries. It has become a city where God is God.

In times of great difficulty, it is our nature to act, to run here and there, to try to do something to help ourselves. But the key is to be still and to wait upon the Lord. The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 

In Christ and St. Benedict, 
The Right Rev. J. Alberto Morales, OSB 
Quincy IX



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