People who inspire
We learned yesterday of a vicar Reverend Peter Holmes (from near Kingston-upon-Thames) who has died of COVID-19, just months before his retirement, after years dedicated to those most vulnerable in our society, especially homeless people. It is unlikely that anyone reading this daily reflection knows him and his family personally, yet we are struck by the aching sadness of this news and we mourn his loss, as tributes pour in for a man who cared so deeply for his community and pointed to his faith in Christ, over a lifetime of service and witness. He sent a text message, just before being put under sedation, to his wife and four children: “Love each other, love God, run for Jesus. Whichever way this goes, I love you all.”
This truly inspires, as does the life of another, Catherine of Siena, whose feast day is today: 29th April. Reverend Susan Blagden reveals in her reflection below just how relevant her story is, to the situation in which we find ourselves today.
But first, more of our greetings of encouragement – and as these have been sent without photos, we have chosen a picture of a third hero – another person we hadn’t heard of until recently: Captain Tom Moore, as he prepares to celebrate his 100th birthday tomorrow on 30th April, having raised over £29 million for the NHS.
Thanks so much for these good messages, full of grace, peace and hope. We stayed in Conwy on a tour of Wales, which was a real treat: beautiful country, culture and people. Cy Hulse, Georgia USA
Thank you, Bro Celynnin, for your words and thoughts of support at this time of uncertainty, they are a source of great comfort. Mike and Joyce Wise
Thank you for your thoughts prayers. Be still my soul, the Lord is with you always even to the ends of the earth. God bless, Alison Williams
Catherine of Siena
Passion for the Truth
Compassion for Humanity
St. Catherine of Siena
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4: 4-7
Byddwch yn llawen bob amser am eich bod yn perthyn i’r Arglwydd. Dw i’n dweud eto: Byddwch yn llawen! 5 Gadewch i bawb weld eich bod yn bobl garedig. Mae’r Arglwydd yn dod yn fuan. 6 Peidiwch gadael i ddim byd eich poeni chi. Gweddïwch, a gofyn i Dduw am bopeth sydd arnoch ei angen, a byddwch yn ddiolchgar bob amser. 7 Byddwch chi’n profi’r heddwch perffaith mae Duw’n ei roi – y daioni sydd tu hwnt i bob dychymyg – yn gwarchod eich calonnau a’ch meddyliau wrth i chi ddilyn y Meseia Iesu.
Reverend Susan Blagden writes:
I’ve been reflecting that Catherine has plenty to say to us at this time. She was a 14th century Christian contemplative – a lay Dominican woman who lived at the time of the Black Death when Italy was riddled with strife between its states, and the church was leaderless because the Pope was in exile in Avignon. It’s easy for us in our current contagious context, to imagine some of the fear and anxiety that was around during the Plague, even though they understood much less about infectious diseases at that time than we do today.
Catherine was committed to visiting the sick and the poor, with scant regard for her own wellbeing. She took gifts, household necessities, and healing remedies to those in most need, often under cover of darkness so that the recipient would not know who had brought the gift. This contrasted strongly with the clergy in Siena at that time, who absolutely refused to come out of their consecrated buildings to get involved with the real needs of people!
It was a harsh time, but Catherine found her way through all the swirl of emotion by remaining focussed on ‘Gentle Jesus. Jesus’ love’. This is her frequent refrain. The gentleness of God was her motive for compassionate action. It inspired her to speak truth to power. It was the encouragement she gave, and prayer she made, for nearly all her correspondents. So may each of us take time to receive this gift from God, and then be proactive in sharing gentleness with those most in need of receiving it.
‘Remain in the holy, gentle love of God. Gentle Jesus. Jesus’ love’
O Dduw tosturi,
bydd yn agos at y cleifion,
yr ofnus neu’r ynysig.
Yn eu hunigrwydd,
bydd di eu diddanwch;
yn eu trallod, eu gobaith;
yn eu tywyllwch, eu goleuni.
yr hwn a ddioddefodd yn unig ar y groes,
Ond sydd heddiw yn teyrnasu gyda thi mewn gogoniant,
Ein Harglwydd Iesu Grist. Amen.
Cyfieithiad Meira Shakespear
God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.