Greetings, fellow Internet browsers! Today we have a guest blog post from IrishLioness, as she discusses her faith and what she believes in. Do come along and spend a few minutes with us on this fascinating and informative adventure with said blogger!
To introduce myself, I am an Anglo-Irish blogger from just north of London, England, interested in all things about life. I blog a lot about nonsense in my life (generally on a Sunday), about current affairs, about how much I suck at being a girl, and a whole host of other topics. But, today, I thought I’d step away from what I call “my slightly grumpy and somewhat sarcastic musings on the world”, and instead write something a little more… informative. Yes, that’s right: I’ll be writing on my faith.
I come from a particular part of the body of Christ. I’m not sure if it’s a hand or a foot, but it’s a something. It is High-Church Anglicanism, or Anglo-Catholicism, and it’s so often misunderstood. So, I decided to tackle the most common questions that come up when I tell people I am an Anglo-Catholic.
But, I thought Anglicanism was born out of Henry VIII’s divorce!
Eh. Yes and no. There’s no point beating about the bush here: we have to accept that the regent’s divorce was the catalyst for the creation of the Anglican faith. But, make no mistake, the proceedings for a break with Rome were being organised long before Henry VIII decided he wanted Anne Boleyn as his queen.
I should also point out here, at the risk of sounding like I have a superiority complex, that Anglo-Catholicism is the purest form of Anglicanism. It was all that existed for the years between the creation of the Church of England and the writing of the Thirty-Nine Articles (an abhorrent document, I must add). So, don’t be deceived into thinking that because we’re a smaller section of Anglicanism, we aren’t the real deal. We’re what came first.
Why do you cross yourself and bow to the altar upon entering a church?
I believe the sign of the cross is immensely powerful. It’s the sign that priests and bishops make as they declare a Trinitarian blessing or absolution over their congregations. It’s the sign we are marked with when we are baptised into Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, when I cross myself, I am invoking something. I am invoking the power of the cross over myself. I am calling on Christ in a very real, meaningful way, to bless me, and sanctify me. I realise I could simply ask God to do those things, but there’s that old adage that actions speak louder than words; I suppose this is an example of that. It is a very real reminder of the cross that covers me. Now, I don’t just cross myself in church. I do it after prayer, or when I hear the name of the Blessed Trinity spoken, or when I feel the need for protection, etc. etc. But, when I enter a church, or a chapel, or any consecrated ground, I cross myself. I do so out of respect: God dwells in His house, and I feel I need to recognise that.
Bowing to the altar is a similar thing: it’s about respect. I believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist; I believe He is fully and truly present in the taking of the bread and wine. The altar is His dwelling place, and if that is the case, who wouldn’t bow before the King?
So, what’s your deal with saints?
I have always believed the saints can intercede on behalf of us. It would be foolish not to. After all, if you believe in the communion of saints, why on earth wouldn’t you? After much deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that invocation is not the worst thing ever to grace this planet. I’m more likely to ask God to send St. Thomas to my doubting family, or to send St. Cecelia to my friends when they’re about to perform in a concert, or St. Lucy to those who fail to see His way, than I am to ask those saints themselves. But, it is not unknown for me to do it, nor for me to sing the litany of saints. That’s a typical Anglo-Catholic position: we don’t oppose it, in a similar way we don’t oppose confession to priests; we simply don’t think it a necessity. To use an old, Church of England adage, “all may, some should, none must.”
Sacraments? Say what?
Ah, yes. This old question. Effectively, Anglo-Catholics believe something that the vast majority of Protestants do not: church rituals are so much more than something we just do out of habit. We give seven of them a name: sacrament. Sacrament means an outward, physical display of an inward, spiritual grace; essentially, we believe that through these seven sacraments, we receive the grace of God. So, the sacraments are: Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion (the Blessed Eucharist; the Blessed Sacrament), Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, the Anointing of the Sick, and Confession and Absolution.
Each of these sacraments is a stepping stone on a Christian’s journey. They are all the same, in the sense that they all give us grace, but they are very different, too. For example, Holy Baptism is about receiving grace, being washed of sin, and being grafted into the Almighty’s church; Confirmation is about receiving grace, following the decision to go forth into the world, living for God, doing His work etc., and professing Christ, therefore placing us in a position to take the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Eucharist is the most wonderful of sacraments, where we receive grace, through remembering Christ, adoring Him, and allowing His sacrifice to sanctify us. I could go on and on about the sacraments, but note what I have said about each one: they are about receiving grace. It is the Father working in extraordinary ways, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the good of His children. It is love, like no other.
Many thanks to IrishLioness for her post! As a disclaimer, the views expressed by the guest blogger are not necessarily shared by the author of this blog. Also, IrishLioness will be busy taking exams until Friday, so any comments directed towards her will not be answered until then.
Thanks to you, reader, for taking the time to read this post! Have a wonderful day!
Less than three,
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
–George Bernard Shaw