After Confession this morning, I read Mattins from my B.D.W. (hoping by this quixotic devotion to express my prayerful support for corporate reunion of Anglicans), and was struck by the end of the first Lesson:
The Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: "Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!" And he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the city.I Maccabees 2:27-28
Surely this may be applied to those wetting their toes on Tiber's banks, having finally spurned the glamours and witchery of that false strumpet, the C of E? For in the days of the Maccabees, Israel had capitulated to the pressure of the pagan world, changing from faith in God to worship of demons, and from adhesion to the Law to the crass expediency that marked Gentile morals. All that was left to do was to fight and flee to a place of refuge...
And I recall what happens a bit further into the tale of the Maccabean revolt, in chapter eight of the first book of the Maccabees:
Now Judas [Maccabeus] heard of the fame of the Romans, that they were very strong and were well-disposed toward all who made an alliance with them, that the pledged friendship to those who came to them...So Judas chose Eupolemus the son of John, son of Accos, and Jason the son of Eleazar, and sent them to Rome to establish friendship and alliance, and to free themselves from the yoke; for they saw that the kingdom of the Greeks was completely enslaving Israel. They went to Rome, a very long journey...
I Maccabees 8:1, 17-18a
It is and has been a very long journey to Rome: please God, journey's end is now at last in sight.
To escape the slavery of modernism - that is, complete surrender to the world - and to cast off its yoke, paradoxically it remains for Anglicans to seek Gospel liberty in the embrace of the Roman Pontiff: who, far from being the tyrant of Protestant legend or of the scoffing mob's derision, is as Christ's faithful Vicar, the true heir of SS Peter and Paul, attending to preaching the Good News to all, ever concerned for all the churches, and striving to guarantee the Lord's promises of a light burden, Christian service in perfect freedom, the tranquillity of order, and a peace that the world cannot deliver.