Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER, 1943.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
The Rogation Days are days appointed by the Church for solemn supplication. The special intention of the supplication is for fruitful seasons. The special prayer is to be used on Rogation Sunday and the Rogation Days—Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It will be found on page 39 of the Prayer Book. The word rogation means supplication.
The Collect for today begins with the thankful remembrance that all good things come from God. He is the giver of all good things. We therefore address our supplications to Him with sure confidence and steadfast trust. Our supplication is not that we may change God's thoughts of us or His will for us. Rather we pray that we may think those things that are good, and by His merciful guidance may perform the same.
We must never forget that the reward of prayer is the inspiration to think those things that are good and to commit our wills to the merciful guidance of God to perform whatever His will is for us. We do not go to God in prayer to change Him but to change ourselves. God is always more ready to hear than we to pray. He is wont to give more than we desire or deserve.
There need be no anxiety about God's readiness to give. What we need to be anxious about is our readiness to receive.
So we pray in order that we may be educated in the ways and thoughts of God. In God's will we shall find our peace. When we pray, as our Saviour Christ has taught us, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," we are praying to be saved from ourselves.
The darkest tragedies of life are the tragedies of self-will. We all need to be educated out of and above and beyond ourselves. We can never find complete satisfaction until our minds find rest in God. There at last, and no where else, can we find perfect peace.
This is the way of life. It is not a difficult way. We are more familiar with it than we realize. It has been the way of the natural life. In childhood we began to grow up into the minds of our parents, teachers, spiritual pastors and masters. We did not lose our freedom. We only gained freedom to grow and to find perfect freedom in perfect service.
In the practise of the Christian Religion we find the perfection of prayer life in Our Lord. "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life." Our supreme object in life is to "grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, from Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working of the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love."
Here is the Body of Christ at prayer. "The Church is the Body of which Christ is the Head, and all baptized people are the members." "We are compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses." Angels and archangels, with all the company of heaven, the Blessed Mother, all the Saints, all the faithful souls in the Church Expectant, all the holy Church throughout the world, all the company of those who manfully fight in the Church Militant, confessing the faith of Christ crucified and manfully fighting under Christ's banner against sin, the world, and the devil; Christ's faithful soldiers and servants, all of them, and we kneel in one vast Company, looking unto Jesus the Heavenly High Priest, Who makes His prevailing intercession for us and with us.
Each of us in our turn offers to Him our supplication, casting it into the common treasury.
So the smoke of the incense, the prayers of the Saints ascend without ceasing day and night before the throne of God.
Affectionately in Our Lord,