Thursday, 16 October 2014

Feast of St Margaret Mary and St Richard Gwyn

Last night I watched an interesting documentary on the spear that lanced the side of Jesus and which focused in particular on the mythology surrounding the 'spear of destiny' - and its association with Hitler.   ( Christ's Holy Spear Treasures Decoded, Channel 4) All very interesting, if dubious stuff, but it did serve to illustrate how important the piercing of the heart of the Saviour was in the early history of Christianity.  In the Orthodox  divine liturgy, for example, it is made very explicit when the priest uses a small spear to divide the bread - or πρόσφορον , prosphoron.  And, of course, we have the tradition of St Longinus - the soldier who, it was believed,  lanced Jesus and proclaimed that Jesus was 'in truth the Son of God.'

St Margaret Mary, by Suzanne Kent

For centuries relics of the supposed spear were seen  as very powerful symbols - and men of power wished to harness this power of the weapon that drew blood and water from the heart of Jesus to advance their own interests extend their power.

Icon of Richard Gwyn  - in Wrexham. 
At mass today when we remembered St Margaret Mary - who did so much to promote devotion to the heart of Jesus, but in Wales we also celebrated the life of St Richard Gwyn (1537 – 1584), whose feast day is also on the the same day. ( Read HERE )  At first I thought that they did not have much in common. Margaret Mary was a Nun, who lived out her life in a convent in France, and Richard Gwyn was a teacher, not a priest or a religious, married with 6 children whose fate it was to be brutally executed for the crime of being a Catholic.  But they are both in the presence of God because they both harnessed the power of the pierced heart of Christ in their very different lives.

St Margaret Mary and St Richard Gwyn pray for us.  Help us to place all our trust in the pierced One - who is truly the Son of God.  Help us to burn with the love of God. And when we fail to love Jesus with all our heart  help us to pray , with St Richard:  'Iesu, trugarha wrthyf' ("Jesus, have mercy on me").

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