Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sharing the Lenten journey with St. David (1)

  St. Thérèse St David  and St. Bernadette                                    
As with everything in this blog, I have not tried to plan, but just allow things to happen: just letting the icon do its work.  Reflecting on St. David (1st March) and the place of water flowing from the Sacred Heart it seems as if I am being invited to explore the lenten desert with my patron saint, David 'Aquaticus'.   I was especially moved by the poem of Saunders Lewis where he compares the message of David to that of the message to the 'gentleness of a nun' or of St. Thérèse and St Bernadette. +   In the case of St. Bernadette her message is appropriate to this season: she called us to pray and repent.  But I am also reminded that she is recorded as drinking water from a spring and eating the plants that grew around it.  No doubt that is what the poet is asking us to think about when we reflect on the life of David who lived off water and herbs and preached repentance.   So yes, St. David of Wales prefigures the message of the Saint of Lourdes.  As for St. Thérèse and her 'Little Way' : like St. David her call is to remember the little things as ways of hearing God's word and doing His will.  We associate David with the daffodil and leeks and with hills and water: St David is a Saint closely associated with the landscape of Wales.  And St. Thérèse, of course, is associated with nature and flowers.  David's rule was very hard, but his message to us is very gentle.  Pay attention to the little things   which,  like streams of water,  can serve to irrigate our spiritual life and make our desert within bloom.  Reading the 'little flower's' writings I came across her poem to the Sacred Heart which had the effect of taking me back into the icon  and drawing my eye towards the great example of repentance , St Mary Magdalen,  who is located in the right hand corner. Here is an extract from the opening stanza of her poem to the Sacred Heart.

Beside the tomb wept Magdalen at dawn, — She sought to find the dead and buried Christ;
Nothing could fill the void now He was gone, No one to soothe her burning grief sufficed.
Not even you, Archangels heaven-assigned! To her could bring content that dreary day.
One day, my God! I, too, like Magdalen, Desired to find Thee, to draw near to Thee; So, over earth’s immense, wide-stretching plain,
I sought its Master and its King to see. Then cried I, though I saw the flowers bloom
In beauty ‘neath green trees and azure skies: O brilliant Nature! thou art one vast tomb,
Unless God’s Face shall greet my longing eyes.”

Lent is a time of searching for living water and little flowers and a time to learn from the Saint clothed in red who kneels in the corner of the icon. *

+ 'They are the words of a maid, the gentleness of a nun,
The 'little way' of Teresa towards the purification  and the union,
And the way of the poor maid who saw Mary at Lourdes. '

*It is also interesting to note here that in her autobiography St Margaret Mary recounts that Jesus says that she, with Magdalen,   had 'chosen the better part' after she declares that she wished for nothing but Christ.  

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