With Fr. GORDON ALBION
"WHAT A HORRIBLE TRADE YOURS IS!" wrote a friend, enclosing £1 for sweep tickets. Though said with no ill-will, the harsh phrase nettled me, maybe because the unexpressed thought has often been in my mind. This incessant appeal for funds is a bigger bind to the beggar than to you who are asked to give. Have you ever thought of that? With a little sympathy?
It started with the apostles and 1 don't somehow think they liked it, except possibly St. Matthew whose "horrible trade" had been to collect taxes. And it will go on, as long as there's apostolic work to be done. We know the word Ecclesia means the assembly of God's people but they've got to assemble somewhere and the vagaries of the earth's climate, especially ours. demand places ` of assembly built of bricks and
SUPPOSE there are parishes I where no new buildings have to be put up, no extensions or improvements to be made : where there's no need to ask for money. One longs, at times, for that day to arrive in one's own: to have done with the "horrible trade." Yet I wonder. There's a saying among the clergy: if you haven't a
debt in the parish, start one. Where funds are needed to start or extend a parish, you generally find a keener spirit among the people. (Of course there are always the critics who "crab"). It seems to me that in this country we should welcome the opportunity of financial sacrifice. Our medieval forefathers built the lovely churches that add, uniquely, to the beauty of the English countryside. Others of our forefathers feebly let them pass to an alien worship.
NOW the task of setting up centres for the Mass and for Catholic worship and teaching has to he tackled again and has been shouldered manfully in the last century and a half. You've only to compare the earliest copies of the "Catholic Directory" with the latest edition to see that.
You may live in a parish that has everything—church, hall, school. Tens of thousands of your fellow Catholics are struggling to. practise the faith without these material aids. We all know we're bound to spread the faith by prayer, word and example. The giving of cash is an apostolic work too. And in that. don't he merely dutiful; be generous. Noblesse obliRe.