William Temple, 1944: The Universe is the Fundamental Sacrament

Today is the commemoration of William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died on this day in 1944. It is said he died of exhaustion


Some of his prayers:

O God of love, we pray thee to give us love:
Love in our thinking, love in our speaking,
Love in our doing, and love in the hidden places of our souls;
Love of our neighbours near and far;
Love of our friends, old and new;
Love of those with whom we find it hard to bear,
And love of those who find it hard to bear with us;
Love of those with whom we work,
And love of those with whom we take our ease;
Love in Joy, love in sorrow;
Love in life and love in death;
That so at length we may be worthy to dwell with thee,
Who art eternal love. source: Paxtonvic

O Almighty God,
the Father of all humanity,
turn, we pray, the hearts of all peoples and their rulers,
that by the power of your Holy Spirit
peace may be established among the nations
on the foundation of justice, righteousness and truth;
through him who was lifted up on the cross
to draw all people to himself,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen. Source: jrwoodward.net

O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Word and Revelation of the Eternal Father, come, we beseech Thee, and take possession of our souls. So fill our minds with the thought and our imaginations with the picture of Thy love, that there may be in us no room for any thought or desire that is discordant with Thy holy will. Cleanse us, we pray Thee, of all that may make us deaf to Thy call or slow to obey it. Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost art one God, blessed for evermore. Amen.

The Universe is the fundamental sacrament:

“In truth the Church is itself the permanent sacrament; it is an organized society possessed (though not always availing itself) of a supernatural life—the life of God—which united humanity with itself in Jesus Christ. But all of this again was only possible because the universe itself is an organ of God’s self-expression. Thus we have the following background of the sacramental worship of the Church: the universe is the fundamental sacrament, and taken in its entirety (When of course it includes the Incarnation and Atonement) is the perfect sacrament extensively; but it only becomes this, so far as our world and human history are concerned, because within it and determining its course is the Incarnation, which is the perfect sacrament intensively—the perfect expression in a moment of what is also perfectly expressed in everlasting Time, the Will of God; resulting from the Incarnation we find the ‘Spirit-bearing Body,’ which is not actually a perfect sacrament, because its members are not utterly surrendered to the spirit within it, but none the less lives by the Life which came fully into the world in Christ; as prat of the life of this Body we find certain specific sacraments or sacramental acts.” Christus Veritas

On the Trinity

“The Holy Spirit, as made known to us in our experience, is the power whereby the created universe—which the Father creates by the agency of the Son, His self-revealing Word—is brought into harmonious response to the love which originated it. The divine self-utterance is creative; within the thing so created the divine self-utterance speaks in Jesus Christ; the divine impetus which is in the created thing by virtue of its origin is thus released in full power to make the created thing; Love by self-sacrifice reveals itself to the treated thing; Love thereby calls out from the created thing the Love which belongs to it as Love’s creature, so making it what Love created it to be.” Christus Veritas

“Thus nothing falls outside the circle of the Divine Love. The structure of Reality when regarded analytically is a stratification wherein the lower strata facilitate the existence of the higher, but only find their fulfillment as those higher grades inform them. The structure of Reality when viewed synthetically is the articulate expression of Divine Love. God loves; God answers with love; and the love wherewith God loves and answers is God: Three Persons, One God.” Christus Veritas



1 thought on “William Temple, 1944: The Universe is the Fundamental Sacrament

  1. I love Temple’s perspective on the interrelation between various spheres of inquiry and reality, bringing theology into conversation with science, for instance. This quotation’s from Nature, Man, and God:

    The view of the universe which I have called sacramental asserts the supremacy and absolute freedom of God; the reality of the physical world and its process as His creation; the vital significance of the material and temporal world to the eternal Spirit; and the spiritual issue of the process in a fellowship of the finite and time-enduring spirits in the infinite and eternal Spirit

Leave a Reply to Kyle Oliver Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.