On Saturday we celebrate the feast day of a great English saint. Richard of Chichester was born in Droitwich in the West Midlands in 1197 and died at Dover in 1253. But it is as the reforming bishop of Chichester that he is best known and loved. In the close a statue of him overlooks the Cathedral, and his shrine has been beautifully restored within the church itself.
Richard was a man of simple personal habits, great generosity, and clearly possessed the ‘common touch’. He was not adverse to rebuking his clergy and even the King when he thought it necessary, but he was gentle to the people in his charge and keen to lead them to heaven.
Richard was keen to instil a love of Christ in his people and his whole outlook can be summed up in the beautiful prayer he left us:
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you have given me, for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother, may I know You more clearly, love You more dearly, and follow You more nearly day by day. Amen.
Simple but profound, we would do well to meditate upon it.