In the wake of Fr Phillips' kind words a few days back, I thought our readers might be interested in an update on The Pondering Heart.
After several months of fits and starts, the web site which is the principal public interface for this apostolate has attained its basic form and now is ready for your perusal and use. While there will be further refinements – such as an improved internal linkage structure – the site is quite serviceable as it stands.
As a reminder (or for those of you who are hearing of this for the first time, as an introduction), The Pondering Heart began as a private project to create a vade mecum for my own use in praying the Rosary. This now has grown into a small book called The Pondering Heart: A Rosary for All Christians. I have also prepared abridged versions of the book and additional materials to facilitate its use.
What this ministry is
I am offering this work as a gift to the Church. It is intended as a concrete example of how the “Anglican patrimony” to which Pope Benedict referred in the epochal Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (November 2009) may move from concept to reality within the full life and communion of the Catholic Church.
It seems to me that Anglicans have long been the magpies of Christendom – picking shiny treasures from the great field of Christ and bringing them back to their nest for its adornment. With the establishment of the Personal Ordinariates as means of bringing those of us who are willing into full communion with the Catholic Church, there is now the possibility for our serving as agents for the adornment not just of a nest but of the whole tree.
The Pondering Heart, particularly in its full version, is intended to serve as such an adornment, since it contains along with treasures of prayer and treasures of art, Western and Eastern, ancient and modern. As to the prayers themselves, the traditional prayers of the Rosary are augmented by responsories and especially by collects, most of which are drawn from the Anglican tradition, and a few of which I have composed especially for this work in the classical style of Anglican liturgical prayer.
What it is for
This ministry is described on the web site as “an ecumenically-focused Catholic apostolate,” which means that it is not just for Roman Catholics and Anglicans who are becoming Catholics, but for all who confess the Triune God and the Incarnate Christ and who desire through Christ – in his time and in his way – to fulfill his clear intention (cf. John 17) that all those who confess his name be able in union with him and with one another visibly to share the One Bread and to drink of the One Cup so that the world may know that the Father has sent the Son to redeem it. In other words, it is offered so that Christians may together through prayer – always common and sometimes corporate – dispose themselves to receive the unity that the Lord desires. For this reason, optional forms are offered which, while in no way contradicting the teaching of the Church, will enable a broad spectrum of Christians to participate in offering this venerable form of prayer.
The terms for the use of the electronic material accessible through the web site are simple: There will be no set charge for any of it. I ask only (1) that the source of the material be acknowledged appropriately if it is republished, (2) that I be sent a copy of each republished item, especially if it is modified from its original format, and (3) that users make a contribution in whatever kind or amount as they are able for the support of the apostolate and its minister. (Please be aware that at this early stage The Pondering Heart does not have tax-exempt status.)
What lies behind my decision to do this are two New Testament principles: First, “Freely you have been given; freely give” [Matthew 10:8]; second, “Those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel” [1 Corinthians 9:14]. I have been reluctant to put a price on any of the material that I am going to offer, since it seems to me a gift to be passed on rather than a product to be marketed. Instead, I will put my confidence in God’s provision expressed through his people.
Should any wish to have me come and speak at a mutually convenient time, I would ask only that my travel expenses be covered. Honoraria or “love offerings” will be gladly and gratefully accepted, of course, but in conformity with the principles outlined above, they will not be demanded.
As always, please keep this ministry and its minister in your prayers for guidance.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
(The Rev’d) Samuel L. Edwards
Feast of the Queenship of Mary
(Octave Day of the Assumption)
22 August 2011