Many people experience Gethsemane moments.
Times have changed since George Herbert… but the principle and spirit in which he ministered as a priest remains an inspiration and model for all priests.
There is a kind of thinking in the Church that wants to reduce the priest to a mere functionary, a managing director, where administration rather than doctrine and worship are to determine the form of the Church.
The task of a priest, in some respects, may be different today, but the principles upon which Herbert built his life as a priest are of universal application.
The Church’s note must be a supernatural note which distinguishes incarnation from immanence, redemption from evolution, the Kingdom of God from mere spiritual process.
There is a rising generation in this country who do not know God because of a general decay of religion.
Priesthood is not a convenient, historically conditioned form of Church organisation, but is rooted in the Incarnation, in the priesthood and mission of Christ himself.
We are to introduce our people into the life of the Church, which is salvation, that they may grasp its meaning, its contents and purpose, to taste and see how good the Lord is.
The priest is Christ’s slave, and Christ himself took the form of a slave and became obedient to death. So the priest in serving human needs lives a Godward life, possessed by God and witnessing that only when lives are utterly possessed by God do they find their true freedom.
Priesthood is forever and does not cease when a priest cannot carry out that priestly ministry.
The Incarnation is the medicine of the soul, undoing the Fall and bringing man to the Tree of Life, and the office of a priest is to administer this medicine in the sacraments.
As priests uphold their people in prayer, so their people are to uphold them with prayer and love, for he cannot work without his people.