On 4th November 1605 Guy Fawkes sat in a filthy cellar underneath the houses of Parliament with a slow match, a watch and a burning desire to see the back of the Protestant King James. Converted to Catholicism in early life Fawkes had long harboured a desire to raise up a Catholic revolt in England, and place James’ daughter Elizabeth on the throne. Sadly, for Fawkes the threat of the plague delayed the opening of Parliament for several months and following a tip off he was discovered just hours before the plan could be carried through.
The great tragedy of these events is that both Catholics and Protestants are called to follow Jesus who insisted that His followers should ‘love one another’a as He had loved them; and that we should ‘love our neighbours as we love ourselves’b; and that we should ‘love our enemies’c. Clearly all too often, and all too obviously, this is not the case, and it leads many to reject the Christian faith as a sham that does more harm than good.
But like a work of art that has been neglected and allowed to decay, our focus should not be on the poor and imperfect state of what we see, but rather on a desire to restore the work to that which the artist originally intended.
a John 15:12
b Mark 12:31
c Matthew 5:44