Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
TRINITY SUNDAY, 1930.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
In the Apostles' Creed we say: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker. of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord. I believe in the Holy Ghost."
In the Offices of Instruction, in answer to the question "What do you chiefly learn in these articles of your belief?" we answer: "First, I learn to believe in God the Father, who hath made me, and all the world. Secondly, in God the Son, who bath redeemed me, and all mankind. Thirdly, in God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the people of God. And this Holy Trinity, One God, I praise and magnify, saying, Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
We know about God through living in the Church. We know God by living with God. The two ought to mean the same thing. We must take care that they do. Our life with God is lived in His Church. Sacraments, worship, prayer are all in God, with God, through God. Our social relations, our work, our recreations are all in God, with God, through God. Everything is bound up with God and is inseparable from God. It is by living with God in every department of life, that we cease to have compartments. We find the unity of life.
We must never live apart from God. No matter how irrelevant or inconsequential the matter which engages our attention may seem, it is to be lived with God. We must never divide our activities into what we would describe as religious and secular. If one does this, life becomes constrained and complicated. The charm of life with God is that it includes the whole of life. It includes worship and work and play. We do not have to stop doing what we do most of the time, to be religious for a part of the time. There are no breaks in the life with God, because it is all in right relationship. Religion is right relationship with God.
We live with God in the Sacramental life, and we know Him there. We live with God in worship, and we know Him there. We live with God in prayer, and we know Him there. We live with God in work, and we know Him there. We live with God in social relationships, and we know Him there. We live with God in our recreations, and we know Him there.
We can only know a person by living with that person. We can only know God by living with Him. Perhaps in actual experience the order of events in the prayer of Saint Richard of Chichester may sometimes be reversed. As we "follow Him more nearly, we love Him more dearly, and see Him more clearly."
The first great commandment is "thou shalt love the Lord thy God." The reward for that is to see Him. A saint has written: "He guides from the lower to the higher; from wandering to rest; from seeing Him through a glass darkly to seeing Him face to face."
We walk by faith not by sight, through our period of probation and purgation. As we walk the dawn of illumination appears. All the while union deepens. Then when perfection is attained will come the Beatific Vision. Then we shall see Him as He is. Blest Trinity in Unity.
Affectionately in Our Lord,