St David – 1st March

February 26, 2013

The Church has been in the headlines a lot in the last few weeks. Firstly the Pope’s resignation took everyone by surprise. Then the speculation about his successor was the media frenzy of the day. More recently the allegations about Cardinal O’Brien and his resignation have been to the fore. Not all publicity is good publicity. A number of us may be slightly reeling and bit confused to say the least.

And so perhaps the saint we celebrate today has a great deal to tell us during these troubling times. Saint David, the Patron Saint of Wales, lived during what has often been referred to as ‘the Dark Ages’. The time after the departure of the Roman legions when everything seemed to be falling apart, and life was fraught with dangers. David was a monk and renowned for both his life of penance and also his teaching of the faith. He travelled around his part of Wales preaching the gospel and encouraged others to take it to the pagans living in Ireland and elsewhere. A man of great courage and vision St. David’s best remembered phrase sums up his life: ‘Be joyful! Keep the Faith!’

Those are words that we can take to heart today. We can be confident and joyous because, as St. David knew, our faith comes from God himself and the Church, although composed of sinners, is ultimately holy through the power of the Spirit.

Lenten Reflection

February 14, 2013

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes – 11th February

February 8, 2013

One of the greatest sites of Catholic pilgrimage is honoured on Monday when we keep the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The story of the vision had by the young girl Bernadette is known the world over. As are the healings and miracles that occur there from time to time. And, of course, Our Lady’s self-designation –‘I am the Immaculate Conception’ – confirmed the doctrine of the Church.

What is even more remarkable is that all this should take place against the backdrop of a society, in nineteenth century France, which thought it was too sophisticated for such things. A society that regarded itself as highly rational, scientific and modern. It was against this backdrop that Our Lady appeared to a simple, ordinary young girl who had the one thing that mattered – faith.

We too live in a society that it very proud of its sophistication, that thinks it has the measure of all things, and is dismissive of what it doesn’t understand. It too is a society that needs to hear about the faith, a society that needs to learn to be more humble, and a society that needs to value the sick and the aged.

Who knows how God will shake our society out of its complacency. Who knows what saints will emerge. May the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes make us all think again.