Austin Farrer on the eucharist
“As a college chaplain celebrating early morning Eucharists, Farrer set himself the discipline of preaching a homily no longer than the lectionary Gospel text, while the congregation remained standing. Here is one such ‘Farrergraph’:”
This sacrament is not a special part of our religion, it is just our religion, sacramentally enacted. It is whatever Christ is, and Christ is everything to Christian people. In particular, he is the supreme bond between us. Everyone of you communicating is bound to his neighbor by this, that the same Christ who lives in one, lives in the other. You care for your fellow Christian as you would care for Christ, and that in you which does the caring is also Christ. Christ in each cares for Christ in all when we communicate together. The same bond unites us with the saints in paradise, who make up by far the greater part of Christ’s people, and with our departed friends who may not yet be in paradise, but for whom we care and for whom we pray.
from The Truth Seeking Heart, (Canterbury, 2006), 125
Austin Farrer on the end
Our knowledge of God now is the promise and the foretaste of heaven: apart from this present knowledge of God, we should have no clue to what heaven will be; for heaven is God. But it’s just as true the other way about – without the heavenly promises God has given us, we should hav no understanding of our present life with God. How could we make sense of the journey if we didn’t know where the road leads? Unless the promise of heaven was shown us, how should we guess that the fitful gleams of spiritual light which visit us here flowed out from the steady and irresistible dawning of eternal day?
Compared with the sight of God in heaven our present glimpses of him seem little, or nothing, indeed; and yet they are not altogether nothing. Even today, when we pray, the hand of God does somewhat put aside that accursed looking-glass, which each of us holds before him, and which shows each of us our own face. Only the day of judgment will strike the glass for ever from our hands, and leave us nowhere reflected but in the pupils of the eyes of God. And then we shall be cured of our self love, and shall love, without even the power of turning from it, the face that is lovely in itself, the face of God; and passing from the great Begetter to what is begotten by him, we shall see his likeness in his creatures, in angels and in blessed saints; returning at long last the love that has been lavished on us, and reflecting back the light with which we have been illuminated. To that blessed consummation, therefore may he lead all those for whom we pray, he who is love himself, who came to us at Bethlehem, and took us by the hand.
from The Essential Sermons, (SPCK, 1991), 203
Austin Farrer on religion
Religion is not self-improvement, or decent conduct or emotional worship. Religion is fidelity. ‘Promise unto the Lord your God and keep it,’ says the psalm. But the fidelity which is the soul of religion is not our fidelity, it is God’s. We give ourselves to him in no reliance on our trustworthiness. Experience has taught us what we are. Our confidence is that God’s faithfulness will prevail over our faithlessness, that he will recall us, that he will not let us go. Our broken resolutions witness against us, but he renews to us daily the miracle of his forgiveness, because he is faithful to his friends. ‘What,’ says St Paul, ‘if some have proved faithless? Shall their faithlessness frustrate the faithfulness of God? It shall not be.’ And he thus expresses the unchangeableness of God’s mind towards us. ‘If, being enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be brought through safely by his life.’
from The Essential Sermons, (SPCK, 1991), 170.
Austin Farrer on discipleship
We must abandon ourselves to the will of Christ if we are to be his disciples. The secret of it is, always to do cheerfully what the manifest will of God calls us to do. Let no one ask, Where is the will of God? Pray with your heart, and ask him the question. You will quickly be reminded of what he wants you to do. Your mother likes to have your letters: do you write? There is a not very successful person who wants a share of your company: do you brush him off? If you are to do good work, you must sleep: why don’t you keep proper hours? How do you employ your imagination when you are alone? Couldn’t you employ it better? I am talking of everyone’s omissions, everyone’s careless ways, merely to remind you that there is always a road along which you can put your good foot foremost in the doing of God’s manifest will. The trouble about us may not so much be that we are ill-natured or vicious, but that we are just bad disciples. We do not do the things we are called to do, or we do them late, and with reluctance.
from The Brink of Mystery, (SPCK, 1976), 90.
Austin Farrer on charity
Now here’s the only thing I want to say to you in this sermon — that nothing will so much commend the gospel of God as charitable kindness: and that Christians ought to be found thrusting in wherever there’s kindness to be done, not bothering whether their fellow-workers or even those who organize their efforts are Christians or not.
from The Brink of Mystery, (SPCK, 1976), 56.