November Editorial & Parish Magazine

Here is 'The Messenger' downloable for free: November Magazine.

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Dear brothers & sisters,

November is a time for the Church to remember who we are. We remember who we are by telling ‘our’ story. If I was to ask you who you are, you would most likely tell me a story, a story about growing up, about school, about holidays, about friends, and about family. Who you are can only truly be answered with a story. The same is true of who ‘we’ are, of who the Church is, of who Christians are. One of the aspects of being a Christian which most challenges our modern world, is that Christians don’t sign up to the same story as everyone else. We don’t believe the story that the West tells, that people can decide what is right and wrong for themselves; or that when we die that’s it; or that the most important thing in the world is to be ’safe’. The Christian community, the Church, believes a story which is very different, and therefore, it is not surprising that it produces people who live in a different way. In November the Church reminds itself who she is, by telling again some of the main parts of its very distinctive story.

We start, on the eve of the month, with All Saints (October 31st) when we remember all those Christians who have lived lives which have most exemplified our Christian story. We remember, for example, Maximilian Kolbe who swapped places with a condemned man; we remember the Apostles who gave their life for sharing the Christian story; we remember Mother Teresa who chose to serve the poorest in the world; and we remember Edith Cavell who nursed not just Allied but also German soldiers because she believed that God loved every single person. On the Feast of All Saints we remember these, and all the other Christians who believed the Christian story to such an extent that they lived their lives in radical conformity to its message.

Next we have All Souls (2nd November), when we remember every Christian who has died, not just the most saintly ones. We recall their individual stories, for sure, but we are principally telling the Christian story that in Christ no one is lost, and that death is in fact not the end. That one day all who have followed Christ will rise and be reunited. This part of the Christian story, the story which we hold to be the true story, is of great comfort to those who have lost a Christian loved one, and is one part of the Christian story which is so different to the world’s.

Towards the middle of the month we, of course, have Remembrance Day (11th November), a secular date which falls coincidentally on the Feast of St Martin of Tours. St Martin was a solider who became a Christian, and because of the Christian story proclaimed: "I am a soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight." The Christian story changed Martin’s views and his way of life. As a consequence, Remembrance Day is not a day when Christians celebrate war, but rather when we lament conflict and violence and pray for all those affected, at home and abroad, friend and foe, solider and civilian. The Christian story changes how we see the world and how we respond to violence.

Towards the end of the month we have the Feast of Christ the King (21st November). We’ve told the story of who we are as Christians throughout the month, we have reminded ourselves, and reminded the world. Now as we come to the end of the month we focus in on the most important and most significant part of the story: that Jesus is alive, that He is our king, and that He rules from the heavens. In this final feast of the month, we proclaim a different leader, one who we voluntarily submit our lives to, and who we allow to tell us how to live, for He is Life itself. All of this storytelling, all of this remembering, is a way of preparing us for the great season of Advent when we recall, when we remember, when we tell the story, that Jesus will return and judge the living and the dead. We remember that we are a people who do not believe that the world goes on for ever. We remember that we are a people who believe that what we do matters and we will be held accountable for the good and the bad, and that there is time now in which to put right, that which we have done wrong. This story is very different to the world’s; it is our story; and this month we will remember it, as we re-tell it. Join us at our services, and remember once again, who you are if you claim the title 'Christian'.

God bless,

Fr Mike