Project Canterbury

Locust Street Letters

By Frank Lawrence Vernon

Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.




For the last two Sundays we have been thinking of the Saints and of the faithful departed. Today we shall think of our Communion with them. The Epistle for today begins, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have for all the Saints.” Saint Paul wrote these words to the Colossians, They are passed on to us. They help us to realize the meaning of the intimacy of the Communion of Saints.

This week I have been attracted by a sentence in a secular book that I have read. “A whole world, invisible without, a man creates within his own personality.” There are many worlds that a man can create within his own personality. Little worlds and great worlds. Good worlds and bad worlds. They all depend upon the man and his ideals and his methods. But every man carries about within himself, invisible without, a world of his own choice and of his own creation. The same author began by saying, “solitude is not the exceptional state of man: it is the normal. Every man spends most of his time alone with himself. If he cannot command this world of his own making, he is miserable indeed.”

The happy heritage of the Christian is that he is enabled to have share in the largest and best of all possible worlds, invisible without, but inseparably within his own personality. He does not have to create it. He finds it ready. He has only to enter in and dwell there. It is just because it is not of his own creation that he enters in wonder and dwells in peace.

The philosopher creates his world. The poet creates his world. The artist creates his world. The musician creates his world. But for philosopher, poet, artist and musician, satisfaction would mean stagnation. Their worlds confessedly fall just short of perfection. The quest is endless.

Because the Christian’s world is the perfect world, his satisfaction spurs him on to adapt himself to its perfection. The Lord of his world is ever saying, “be ye therefore perfect.” It is a world of Saints, and he himself is called to be a Saint. He must live up to his world.

In the midst and in the turmoil of the world which is visible without, he must live his life and take his part. He has no restless discontent over it. For he knows that only by acquitting himself creditably there, can he keep his invisible world intact. He owes his best to both.

He wakens every day to an inescapable, visible world. In the midst of his visible world stands his church, the gateway of his invisible world. In the stillness of the early morning he unites himself with the Angelic legions. The Sacrifice of Calvary surrounds him. He sees and adores and receives his Lord who comes to dwell within him. The Angelus will call him to the memorial of the Incarnation three times in the day. He may salvage a few moments for a visit to his Lord in the tabernacle. As he kneels in the dim, silent church, the Presence soothes and blesses him. Then and there he realizes, as nowhere else, that the things which are seen are temporal, and that the things which are not, seen are eternal.

Affectionately in Our Lord,

Project Canterbury