Father Christopher Gray

19641996

 

THE EMOTIONS THAT each of us as members of the Body of Christ have experienced over the past weeks, since the tragic and wasteful loss of Christopher Gray have no doubt ranged from outraged anger to sheer terror to aching loss. All these are ,,emotions that we experience regularly at one .level or another, and we can usually deal with them in our own way. This is different. This awful act of sheer evil that has suddenly come among us has made us take account of sin possibly as never before; many people have said `I've never known anyone who has been murdered before'. We are faced with the ultimate sin in a way that we may never have been before and we need to accept this before we can deal with the emotions that we feel.

Father Chris felt a calling to minister to the needs of the inner city. He felt a calling to love the people of the inner city into life, in the traditions of the Tractarian Ang1oCatholics of the 19th century. This calling took account of the sin of the world: were it not for the sin of the world there would be no poverty, no starving, no homelessness. Yet it did not take account of the sin of individuals. We as a Church need to take account of the sin of individuals and also of the world, whilst always bearing in mind that our Faith is at its heart Incatnational. God became man to die for our sins that we may be forgiven.

All of us who have been touched by this dreadful act have in some way been separated from God. This, feeling of separation is the emotion that we have taken least account of, because it is the most difficult to identify. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is Fear of the Lord. This gives us a fear of being separated from God and it is at times like this that we are most separated from God. How can an all loving God allow this to happen? The answer is God has not allowed it to happen. We as a Church and as a Society have. Through our individualism, through our lack of care for each other and because we often neglect the basic truths of the Faith.

The Archdeacon of Liverpool has quite rightly said that our best compliment to Cues is to continue his ministry with our own. If we are to do that we need to do it in a way that does not waste the ministry that he has begun. This means that we have to accept and be willing to act upon two things. We must identify the gift of the Holy Spirit: Fear of the Lord. Through this gift we can recognise separation from God when we see it, as we are doing now and we can deal with it. We can reunite ourselves with God through prayer, through worship, through praise and thanksgiving and through the reception of the Sacraments. We must also be able to identify sin. The sin of the world and the sin of individuals. Through our belief in the truth of the Incarnation and of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist we must rekindle our vocation to minister to the ragged, naked, oppressed and sweated', to love these and all people into the fullness of life in Christ whilst taking full account of the frailty of our human nature. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

`Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far to small. Love so amazing, so divine. Demands my soul, my life my all'.

Nicholas J. Basson.

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