Dear People of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter,
A blessed and joyous Easter to you all!
We have just passed through a Lent in so many ways like none other. We began this Lent trying to absorb the unsettling announcement of the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI, who more than anyone else has made our journey to full communion possible. And we concluded Lent by welcoming Pope Francis, whose beginning days have been so full of surprises. In many ways, we are in a different place than when we started.
But in a more important sense, we have come full circle. Ours is a living tradition, and the Pope has the ministry of interpreting that tradition authoritatively so that it might continue to be heard throughout the world today. The two Popes of Lent 2013 are a study in contrasts, gifted in different ways, but they serve the same Gospel. It is a wonderful illustration of how the Petrine office is exercised; it is an instrument of the Holy Spirit: to renew the Church’s mission and to configure her in the image of Christ.
I love the way St. Irenaeus of Lyon wrote of how the Tradition is perpetually revivified in the Church. The Faith that is received and handed will, by the Spirit of God, renew the Church and make it young, “as if some precious deposit in an excellent vessel causes the vessel itself containing it to renew its youth also” (3.28.1).
There is a resurrection theme to be discerned in this. Earthly communities and societies get old and tired and are replaced by something new and different. But the Church is renewed and recovers her youthfulness, because she participates in the life of the blessed Trinity.
The people of the Ordinariate should understand this principle because we have experienced it in the renewal of our communities and in our personal faith, as we have journeyed deeper to the source of the Church’s life, to the streams of living water. In the words of Jeremiah 2:13, we have learned of the futility of digging “broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
May our Risen Lord bless our life together and keep us always faithful to Him and to His Church!
– Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson