Defender of the faith.
Originally a title bestowed on King Henry VIII by Pope Leo X after Henry wrote a book called “Defence of the seven sacraments”. In the light of the fact that one of the seven sacraments was marriage… one Pope and one wife later, Henry had his title revoked and found himself excommunicated from the church. Anyway, the English Parliament then conferred the same title back on Henry and his successors. And so, to this date you will find the letters F.D. on every English coin on the side showing the monarch’s head
The title “Defender of the Faith”, got me thinking, especially in the light of non-dualism as expounded by Richard Rohr, an American Franciscan priest who’s writings come highly recommended for anyone interested in contemplative prayer and life. Anyway, if you haven’t come across the term “non-dualism”, it is simply an attitude to your own and other’s faiths/beliefs etc etc. The underlying message is simply this; I may well believe something different to you, BUT, I will alway celebrate what you believe. I will also never say that what I believe is right and what you believe is wrong.
From Henry VIII through to the present day, have a think about how many conflicts there have been over “what I believe and what you believe”.
Even the simple Eucharist instituted by Jesus amongst His friends, when He knew of His imminent death, is at the centre of many disagreements to this day. There are many different understandings of this practice/sacrament/service/ceremony… just the descriptions differ. From a simple meal to transubstantiation.
Anyway, I celebrate your understanding of it and what it means to you.
So perhaps in our own lives we should start to be “Celebrators of the Faith” and living it out in our lives. A quote often used…
“Let’s focus on the things we share and have in common”.
God bless you as the nights draw in and the worlds wintery cloak comes down over us. We look forward to celebrating the moment when The Christ came into our world.