Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 1928.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
Death does not dissolve spiritual relationships. Death does not sever spiritual ties. Death does not release from the duty of prayer. Death does not interrupt spiritual communion. Death does not destroy prayer.
"The things which are seen are temporal." They pass away. Time and change and chance affect them. To depend wholly upon them is to store up disappointment and regret. They are pleasant while they last. But they don't last. And one must have something back of the temporal things and over the temporal things. One must have something which will never be taken away. One must-have something to keep.
"The things which are not seen are eternal." The unseen, eternal things make life worth while. The seen things are the signs of the unseen. If they are not, then they are ghastly shams. Under the outward and visible there must be the inward and spiritual. The secret of stability is to set one's affections upon the things which are unseen and eternal.
This is precisely what the Communion of Saints means. It is the unseen and eternal unity of the members of Christ. This is the imperishable and indestructible thing. This is the thing which lasts.
The Sacramental life is the means by which the eternal relationships in Christ are assured.
The prayer life is the heavenly conversation of the family of God. Everything else may change. This never changes. "Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The one thing that we can do for those with whom we are bound up in the bundle of life, is to maintain our own union with Our Lord and to pray instantly in season and out of season. Every other effort we make is minor. Every minor effort may fail. The only service that will endure the strain of years, and survive the separations which the changes of the years inevitably bring, is the service of unbroken Communion and unceasing prayer. This is what we owe to those for whom we are in any special way responsible. The very passing away of the seen things, which are temporal, must serve as constant reminders of the lasting obligations of the unseen things which are eternal.
So every year, All Souls' Day comes to emphasize on one day what is the duty of every day.
On All Souls' Day we offer the Holy Sacrifice for all the faithful departed. "For those, our dearest and our best, by this prevailing Presence we appeal." We commend them, one by one, to God, and pray for their refreshment, light and peace.
As we pray for them, we meet them. As we make our Communions we have them.
Affectionately in Our Lord,