Address from Ordinand’s Mass

The Promised Holy Spirit
Rev Mario’s address at the Ordinand’s Mass
of Reverend Antoinette Schoenmaker
Founders Day, 7th August 1988

For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice from his own sins as well as those of the people. And one does not take the honour upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exult himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.” As he says also in another place, “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 5:1-6)

For he, the Christ has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mysteries of his will, according to his purposes which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the council of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. In him, you also who have heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:9-14)

Now what St Paul really is saying is that you should be a bit more patient. The text I’d like to contemplate on for a few moments this morning is taken from this reading: You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it. 

A Universal Church
Today, my dear friends, we celebrate two great occasions, Antoinette’s ordination and her first mass this morning and also Founders’ Day. That is, today we remember when for the first time we opened The Centre in August 1969. 

We were then still under the banner of the Congregational Church in Western Australia but, for the first time in the history of this country as far as we know, a church was sold, ours, and that created, as you can well imagine in those ancient days, great upheavals, for Colin and I tried to find new expressions of religion, expressions which made sense first of all, and secondly which would uplift again a standard that is spiritual and has value for the souls of man. 

Gradually, of course, the form of worship as we have it today evolved, with the richness of our altar, our liturgy and our robes. Yet we want to make quite clear that we are not Catholic in the sense of Rome but rather that we are universal, a universal church. We have followed faithfully, as far as we know, the path of the ancient of days as they worshipped through many, many symbols and means. 

The heritage which you today receive and through which you will become enriched in the inner man, was due to the foresight and courage of your founders in those days and also to the receptivity to the guidance of the inner spirit, which we call the spirit of God. 

Through the Guidance of the Holy Spirit 
We have always maintained that neither Colin nor myself created the church. We blame solely the Holy Spirit for this. It was through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, and our single-mindedness and dedication, that this church stands today as a force to be reckoned with in the spiritual arena. So we give thanks today for the vision that was given, the love of God received, the grace, courage and strength experienced so that this church, first called ‘The Church of the Mystic Christ’ but now ‘The Independent Church of Australia’, is now a haven to all those who love truth in the inner man and who, together with us, want to shine forth the light, the love and the redeeming power of Christ operating in the world. 

The Symbol of the Sun
I think that it is very significant that we opened and founded The Centre and now, 19 years later, I ordain my daughter during the month of Leo - of which I could say many, many things but, to be nice and benign for a change this morning, it is the sign of the Sun, and the Sun for us is the symbol and the reality of the Christ forces. It is also a symbol of redeeming love and of giving strength. 

Predestined and Foreordained
In the economy of God certain things are sealed by his spirit; certain things are predestined and foreordained; certain things are set in motion by the Gods. We, who are still in this mortal flesh, may become his tool and the channel of the heavens if we wish. For God calls, there is no doubt about this. He called me when I was but seven. He called Helen, my former trusted companion, to assist and build. He called Colin to give the impetus, imagination and grandeur of thinking and feeling. And now he has called my daughter. It is good that certain things are hidden from human view or else we would take things out of the hands of God and run ahead of him, but where there is a response to the call, where there is a response to that predestination, where we recognise our own values in the light of our previous incarnations, there the Gods will seal and bring about that miracle that we ourselves can never do because of our own short sightedness (stupidity) and inability to interpret the wills of the Gods. 

Over the years that we have been working, first under the banner of the Congregational Church and later in 1975 under our own name when we became a denomination, we have seen many precious souls coming and drinking from the fountain which we, by the grace of God, have opened and made available again. This specifically in terms of the ancient teachings, ever old, ever new. The secrets of the gods, as they are inherent in human nature and within the cosmic scheme of the world, are now open and those who are called and predestined can and may now be sealed with the spirit of promise. 

The Spirit of Promise
You could ask, as we are prone to do and perhaps rightly so, what is the spirit of promise? Especially in these our days where the emphasis is so much on that which is within the soul of man and on the wonder of human spirit. The emphasis also is on the astral, that which is innately the very nature and expression of ourselves, which makes us all so gloriously different and able in so many ways. And even though the astral is the very arena through which the spirit of God works, cleanses and operates, the emphasis must not be on the astral in terms of receiving the seal but rather on the reception of divinity, of that spirit which comes from above. That spirit will enable us to take our place in society and among the human race as priests and bearers of the fountain of light from which all may drink freely and become satisfied. 

The Life and Task of a Priest
The task of a priest, if the priest develops the gifts which have been given through the laying on of our hands, is far from easy and often thankless and full of pitfalls. Some people in their goodness and love ask me whether I am a proud father to ordain my daughter. We are going to be in the Guinness Book of Records because I don’t think a Bishop has ever ordained his own daughter and, in that sense, I’m very proud to be in the Guinness Book of Records. But I share this pride with Christ. I must also admit that there is a compassion, perhaps a sadness within my soul. There is a deep longing within me to keep from her all the pain and the sorrows and the agony that have been my portion over the long years of my priesthood and ministry. 

In many ways, of course, Antoinette was well prepared not only by having been born in our family but having worked with me at very close quarters. One cannot work with me closely and fail to see the problems and the burdens placed upon one’s shoulder, nor fail to see the abuses, misunderstandings, demands and expression of selfishness so often received from those who came to drink from the fountain but who also wanted to do it their way not God’s way. She has seen from close quarters what the life of a priest is and always will be: a constant giving, a constant blessing, a constant forgiving, a constant encouraging, building, teaching and opening up the mysteries of Christ through the Eucharist, the bread and the wine which are the token and the symbols of the Melchizedek Order and the very means of grace and cleansing. 

To Want to be a Priest
It has always been a great joy to me to ordain priests - and here they sit all in the front - and seal them with the promised Holy Spirit. It has at times been a great agony too and sadness when I noticed over the years that some priests, not present here, did not develop the promise, that sealing, and because of that became ineffective to God and the Brotherhood and often to humanity as well. 

To want to be a priest must never be an ego thing. To want to be a priest is an agonising feeling, a realisation of unworthiness and yet an inner gnosis that says that one’s life is no longer one’s own. One feels one’s predestination. 

The Task of this Church and the Task
of the Melchizedek Priesthood
What then, we may ask this morning, is the task of this church and the task of the Melchizedek priesthood? The answer to this is really very simple. For the task of this church, born by Spirit on the soil of Australia, the land of promise, hope, unity, is to restore again the old pure Christian faith that was so inherent in the first few centuries of the church, to restore again the ancient mystical teachings upon which Christ built his church, and to follow the traditions handed down to us by John the Beloved and other mystical teachers after him. 

Our church, our beloved church, came into existence because there was a spiritual hunger among the people of God. Most churches today preach now a social gospel, an altruism that is sick, a do-goodery that doesn’t do any good for it does not create strength of character and strength of soul within the people. Thus, we provide again a Gospel which is alive with the message of the Christ, which fills the need of the soul to understand with a spiritual intellect the content of God’s working in evolution and in the human soul in particular, to show forth with certainty, with spiritual knowledge, that the redemption of Christ is a fact and is working, and that he, the Christ himself, has come nearer to us today to console and strengthen his people and to prepare them for the greater outpouring of the spirit as we will see this within the next decade. 

So our priests have been called, and that now includes my daughter, to be the very channels of the spirit of Christ. For that reason they have been prepared, ordained and sealed. But to be sealed, fraters and sorores, means also to be the property, the slave of Christ, not just a channel, but totally, fully available, with all that that may entail and encompass. 

Through our church, through our denomination, the Christ is restoring again the great values of the priesthood in its pristine purity and intuitional cognition. Our priests, both male and female, must now become the very mouth of God, the very expression of God and through their increasing spiritual perception be able to bless and guide the people of God in the forward thrust of evolution, so that the people of God, you and I, those who are called to be Christ’s own, may be the power that will permeate this earth with Christ, so this earth may indeed become the very home and dwelling place of the Lord and his anointed one. 

To my daughter, the Reverend Antoinetta, to my fellow priests who have worked so faithfully with me over the years, to those who will become priests in the future by God’s will, may I dedicate this poem to you as a prayer: 

Pour out your spirit from on high,
Lord, your ordained servants bless.
Graces and gifts to each supply
And clothe your priests with righteousness.
Within your temple when they stand 
To teach the truth as taught by thee, 
O Christ, like stars in your right hand, 
The angels, the priests of the Church will be.
Wisdom and zeal and faith impart,
Firmness with meekness from above,
To bear your people on their heart 
and love the souls whom you do love.

So shall it be. 

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