Sunday, 17 July 2011
17th July: by way of reparation
"That that is is" ; so I, being master Parson, am master Parson; for,what is "that" but "that"; and "is" but "is"? (Shakespeare: Twelfth Night IV.ii.15-19)
"Then shall the just shine as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."
(St Matthew 13.43)
The history of England's break with Rome is a tangled one. Many of us are becoming increasingly aware that the reign of Elizabeth I was very far from the 'Merrie England' of the historical myth, even perhaps being the nearest thing to a 'police state' outside the unlamented twentieth century. Today's anniversary of the arrest of St Edmund Campion at Lyford Grange in Oxfordshire brings that brutal fact home to us, even if it were more convenient, in all kinds of ways, to forget it.
I'm not sure that anyone can, meaningfully, apologise for the tragedies and injustices of what is now distant history. We simply live with them in the sense they have helped make us who we are, either for good or ill, depending on the lessons we are able to draw from them.
But we can honour those who died for the sake of true faith and right conscience and ask for their prayers. The only real reparation is the attempt to live a life worthy of the One who died for us all.