I loved reading Fr Jurgen Liias’ conversion to the Catholic Church.
He is a faithful Christian, an evangelical and charismatic, and has been an Episcopalian minister for forty years. Now, via the Anglican Ordinate, he was received into full communion with the Catholic Church!
To become Catholic, he writes, isn’t to lose anything; it is to become a “completed” Christian. It’s an audacious claim, one that should ruffle feathers and disturb consciences. Because if he’s right, then what could be more important than the fullness of the Truth? And if he – and I and many others for that matter – are wrong then frankly, we are delusional or worse.
Then there’s this beautiful paragraph,
There is in the Christian life a force of gravity, which draws the believer ever deeper into union with Christ. That union is not only a private mystical union — though it is that — but a deepening union with the mystical body of Christ, the Church. It is a dogmatic principle of the Catholic Church that “this Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church” (Lumen Gentium).
If this is true, then this gravitational pull of Christ’s Spirit is universally active, drawing all humanity to Christ the Head and to the fullness of His saving grace, which He mediates through His Body the Church. John Henry Newman, an Anglican convert to Rome, insightfully quipped that there was no steady state between atheism and Catholicism!
In the human soul there is always that spiritual battle between the centrifugal forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil drawing us away from the love of God, and the centripetal dynamic of the Holy Spirit pulling us ever deeper into the love of God. There is a gravitas to the Catholic Church, to the See of Peter, that is I believe a true and objective charism intended by Christ to draw His followers into union with Him in the fellowship of the Catholic Church.
I have felt this centripetal force. Indeed, the whole universe is animated by it. Love and unity are inseparable (pun totally intended) because Love is a unitive force. This is why God, who is Love, is Three persons and yet One. So deep is the love between Father, Son and Spirit, that the Blessed Trinity is truly One God.
This is why too Christ says that there will be two ways the world will recognise His disciples.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me…. that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:20-23)
How will the world know we are disciples of Jesus and that He is Lord? By our love and our unity, because on final analysis, they are one and the same thing.
Fr Jurgen concludes with this,
The unity of the Church is not only an imperative for the internal life of God’s people but an essential dimension of her evangelical mission. There is no greater scandal and impediment to the conversion of the world to the love of Christ than her divisions. Pope Benedict established the Anglican Ordinariate both as a concrete instrument to begin to organically heal the divisions of the Reformation and as an essential strategy for the sake of “the new Evangelization.” As an Anglican, I have received this as a gracious invitation to reconciliation. I can find no valid faithful reason to decline.