At the beginning of a new calendar year, with the excesses and celebrations of Christmas and New Year behind us, we are prone to gaze somewhat forlornly at the fuller, more shapely, self reflected in the mirror. We resolve to get fit and back into shape.
And our resolution is all the more piqued by the offers to join gyms and fitness clubs for discount prices and great offers.
But the experience of many, indeed my own, is that in the gloomier darker days of winter, the temptation is to rest in comfort, by the fire and not to put on gym gear, run outside and get wet and cold.
However, many will speak well to the benefits of losing unnecessary weight, keeping fit and feeling good about engaging in exercise. And I suspect that they achieve this because they develop the habit of exercise, not as a reaction to a period of excess, but as a regular discipline in respect for themselves and their bodies.
So, as we embark on a new decade in early 2020, it is very much the same in respect of our spiritual selves. If we are a bit flabby in that respect, here are some pointers to consider (and none are too good to be true):
1. What you put into your body makes a difference: so it is with your mind, your heart and your soul. To be properly fed spiritually, we need to regularly pray, share in worship within our community and read the bible, God’s word to us. These are really good habits to get into.
2. I’m afraid this is also involves regular exercise. A runner who doesn’t train for a race might not finish or might come far down the field. So what we learn in church and read in the bible needs to be put into practice regularly. Like a tree planted where there is good soil and regular water, faith that is healthy should bear good fruit and we should be known for our goodness.
3. This all takes discipline. Just as with gym going or physical exercise, our spiritual habits can be tough to keep because they aren’t always flashy or easy. We won’t always want to keep them. But these habits are vital to keep us on the right track in life. And thankfully, we are not on our own. God has given us Jesus and the Holy Spirit to support and encourage us. The important thing to remember is that if we drop the ball, we can get back up and start again.
All of us at St Mary the Virgin will welcome you anytime you want to come and share in worship with us. And a very happy, healthy and yes – spiritually fit – New Year!
S. Mary’s Church & The Walsingham Chapel
S. Mary’s Church, in the heart of the village of Buxted was erected and endowed by Father A.D. Wagner. The church (Grade II listed) was consecrated in 1887. The small church, built in the traditional Sussex style, is of flint construction, in line with the Wagner churches of Brighton, and is the only church built by him in the Sussex countryside. S. Mary’s, designed to promote the Catholic faith, had, at one time, a community of religious (the Society of
S. Mary) attached to the parish.The Lady Chapel (or Walsingham Chapel) was built to the dimensions of the medieval Holy House at Walsingham in Norfolk. In turn these dimensions are as those of the Holy House at Nazareth. The ancient shrine of Walsingham was destroyed in the 16th Century, so the Walsingham Chapel at S. Mary’s became the first restored Holy House and precursor of the revival of devotion to our Lady of Walsingham in England. Father Hope Patten, once curate of S. Mary’s and then parish Priest at Walsingham was instrumental in rebuilding the current shrine. It is a recognised fact, that without S. Mary’s Buxted, there would probably be no shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham, either Anglican or Roman Catholic.
St. Mary’s Church, Buxted
Quote from the pamphlet ‘Nazareth in Sussex’, first printed in 1934:
“May Nazareth in Sussex, standing as a witness to the doctrine of the Incarnation in the Southern Counties, become known and loved, and draw many to visit this Shrine who, for one reason or another, are but seldom able to ‘take the Walsingham Way’”.
Sundays: 11.15 a.m. Parish Mass 2nd Wednesday of the month:
10.30 a.m. Walsingham Cell Mass 4th Wednesday of the month:
10.30 a.m. Walsingham Cell House Group The church is open daily for visitors.
Concerts are held throughout the year. For further information please view the parish website: www.bhdchurches.org.uk or the Buxted Messenger
Pilgrimage to “England’s Nazareth in Sussex”
If you or your parish would like to arrange a special pilgrimage to
S. Mary’s please contact:
Colin Woolgrove Tel: 01825 830076.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org If you wish to celebrate Mass and are unable to bring your own priest, please let us know in advance. The Parish of Buxted and Hadlow Down, of which S. Mary’s is part, comprises a variety of churchmanship. In consequence, there is no resolution in place under the House of Bishops’ Declaration. However, the Rector gives his assurance that only male priests will celebrate the Eucharist at S. Mary’s. There is an outside space for picnics, when the weather permits, and a church hall that can be used with adequate notice. We are happy to provide tea and coffee.
Our Lady of Walsingham, Our Lady of Nazareth in Sussex, Pray for us.
S. Mary’s underwent an extensive internal redecoration programme in 2016. However, in common with many other churches, there is always something else to do. Future projects include a new roof, repairs to the stained glass windows and a certain amount of re-ordering. All donations will be gratefully received.