Catholicity, Apostolicity, and the consent of the Fathers, is the proper evidence of the fidelity or apostolicity of a professed Tradition
J.H. Newman, Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church 1837, p. 62
Many people when they consider religion in general and the
Christian Faith in particular are wont to see it in negative terms – religion is
all about what you cannot or should not do. And it is worth considering that Jesus
does give negative prohibitions, and the one thing he says more than anything
else is ‘Do not be afraid’. As Christians fear should not be part of who or
what we are – we are one with Christ who by His death and resurrection has
restored our relationship with God and each other – as we are loved we are to
love God and each other, the costly self-giving love shown to us by Christ.
We see this in the way in which Stephen, one of the first
deacons, and the first martyr, prays for his murderers as they stone him to
death, that God will forgive them. This is love put into practice – lived out
in our life and death. Stephen bears witness to Christ, regardless of the cost –
he proclaims His divinity, and His victory, and encourages us to do the same,
so that following Stephen’s example and aided by his prayers we may be
strengthened to live out our faith in our lives.
Our not being afraid comes from our belief in God – ‘believe
in God and believe in me’ we can put our trust in the God who loves us and
saves us. In trusting God our faith can grow and develop – in knowing that we
are loved by God and that our eternal destiny is to be with God for ever we can
grow and develop within the context of this loving relationship.
Christ says ‘I am…’ on seven occasions in John’s Gospel – it picks
up God’s self-revelation to Moses in Exodus 3:14 – ‘I am who I am’ and tells us
something about the nature of God. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
He is the Way – the way for us to live our lives, and the Way to heaven, the
way to reconciliation to God and each other. He is the truth, the ultimate
truth of God’s love for us, and the life – life in all its fullness, eternal
life with Him forever. He shows us who and what God is, and what God does, for
love of us, and believing and trusting in Him, we can live His risen life.
He feeds us with Himself in Word and Sacrament, He who is the
Word of God, who is the Living Bread, so that we may have life and have it to
the full. As our celebration of Easter, of His Resurrection turns towards His
Ascension, and looks towards Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit so that
the Church may live out its faith in His strength and power we can have hope.
So let us live this love, fed by God, fed with God, healed and restored by Him,
trusting in Him and living out His love in our lives – to proclaim His victory
and to transform the world so that it may likewise live out this costly love
and trusting in God may come to believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God
the Holy Spirit, to whom be ascribed as is most meet and right all might,
majesty, glory, dominion and power, now and forever.
"To a great extent the world is what we make it. We get
back what we give. If we sow hate, we reap hate; if we scatter love and
gentleness we harvest love and happiness. Other people are like a mirror which
reflects back on us the kind of image we cast. The kind person bears with the
infirmities of others, never magnifies trifles, and avoids a spirit of fault