An Update on The Pondering Heart

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.

Terms of use

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

Author: Fr. Sam Edwards

Fr. Samuel L. Edwards has recently established The Pondering Heart, which can be briefly, if inadequately, described as "An Ecumenical Catholic Apostolate" that grew out of what began as a private project to create a vade mecum for use with the Holy Rosary. He is a native of Waynesville, North Carolina and recently has returned there. An honors graduate of Brevard College, The American University (Washington, DC), and Nashotah House Seminary (Wisconsin), he has served churches in north central Texas, southern Maryland and central Alabama. For seven years he was the Executive Director of Forward in Faith, North America, then the largest organization of traditional Anglicans in The Episcopal Church, during which he traveled and spoke widely, both in the United States and abroad. After 29 years in The Episcopal Church (23 of them as a member of the clergy), he became part of the Continuing Anglican movement in 2002. He was Vicar of Saint Peter’s Church in Waynesville until the end of 2010, at which time he stepped down to prepare for entry into the Catholic Church, preferably through the hoped-for Ordinariate for the United States. Presently he is a member of the Pro-diocese of the Holy Family in the TAC’s Patrimony of the Primate. Fr. Edwards’ ministry always has had a strong focus on teaching. He is the author of numerous articles on religious, social, historical and political topics, both in church publications and secular newspapers. He has also written two books (neither published as yet) – Constitution and Institution on the renewal of ecclesiology (the doctrine about the Church) and The Pondering Heart: A Rosary for all Christians. He is also engaged in a long and intermittent project of organizing his instructional material into another book with the working title, The Great Belonging: Basics of Christian Teaching and Practice. Fr. Edwards was a contender for a seat in the North Carolina General Assembly’s House of Representatives in the General Election of 2010, and though he was not elected, he turned in a strong showing against a well-financed incumbent, garnering more than 45% of the vote. He is currently a candidate for the Board of Alderman in Waynesville. Fr. Edwards and his wife, Kay, have been married for over 30 years. They have two grown children and one grandson.

3 thoughts on “An Update on The Pondering Heart”

  1. Thank you Fr. Edwards. You have long been an inspiration to us on the long journey forward in the Faith. Even back when we were in the Episcopalian Diocese of Dallas, you were giving us encouragement. There are so many who have been positive in our journey, including that of Fr. Phillips of Our Lady of the Atonement parish in San Antonio, that we can do nothing less that give God the honor and the glory. May the Personal Ordinariate soon be a reality. I am interested in your work and will be back in touch with you. Fr. Clayton T. Holland, Retired Pastor of Christ our Saviour Anglican Church, Denison, Texas.

  2. Thank you very much for sharing this, Father. Excerpts have been posted (with attribution) at the blog PEREGRINATIONS in response to some questions in Canada about the Anglican and Catholic understanding of the Assumption of Our Lady.

    Please note the NOVENA FOR THE ORDINARIATE IN NORTH AMERICA being offered in Toronto from September 8 – 16 using resources from the PONDERING HEART site. We hope many will join us and pray for many blessings for your work and for the ministry of The Pondering Heart.

  3. Your definition of Anglo-Catholics as 'magpies' is spot on. I had not previously thought of them in this way, though at one time the more moderate described themselves as 'borrowers'.

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