Abbot Hugh Allan, o.praem.
Apostolic Administrator of the Falkland Islands, Ecclesial Superior of the Mission
sui juris to St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island
Pastoral Letter for Easter Sunday 2019
Dear friends in Christ,
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
A very Blessed Easter to you, to your families and to all your loved ones. May the joy of this great feast radiate throughout your lives.
A great apologist for the Catholic Faith was a man called G.K. Chesterton. I often feel a real connection with him – he too was absolutely enormous! He was really big. Chesterton used to joke that he was the politest man in all of England – because when he stood up in a bus, he could give seats to three ladies!
Chesterton was big not only in girth, but in intellect. Many considered him the most brilliant and most popular journalist of his day. It caused quite a stir when, after many decades of searching, he entered the Catholic Church. Friends asked him why he became a Catholic. Chesterton replied, “To get rid of my sins!”
That is what we see in the celebration of Easter. Peter recounts Jesus’ death and resurrection and then concludes: “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” When Jesus first appeared to the Apostles, he breathed the gift of the Holy Spirit and said, “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them.”
The forgiveness of sins brings something new into our world. Without forgiveness human history is very bleak. Anger, resentment, bitterness, envy — those things go on and on. We know in our own lives how difficult it is to get rid of resentment. And sometimes even the person who says, “I love everyone” in reality, is seething with bitterness inside.
There is only one way to overcome bitterness: the Cross and Resurrection, the forgiveness of sins. If we open ourselves to the cross, something new enters the world; something new enters our own lives. I am not saying it is easy. On the contrary, nothing is more difficult that receiving forgiveness – and all that it implies for our relations with others. It is not easy, but that is the reason we have before our eyes the Cross – and the Resurrection.
Dear friends, we live in difficult times for Christians. It is becoming increasing difficult to live our Christian faith. But we must keep going and hold to what is true.
The question is: Will we stand with Jesus or pull away from him? Are we going to allow Jesus into our hearts or are we going to drift with the current? A dead fish goes with the flow. A strong, live fish swims against the current.
So as we rejoice in this wonderful Easter day, accept the challenge of the Resurrection. Live for Christ for He has truly risen. Alleluia!
Please pray for me as I pray for all of you every day.
With love, prayers and every blessing,
Abbot Hugh Allan, o.praem.