Sunday, 31 October 2010

All Saints Galore

St George had borrowed another's shield

We pushed Halloween aside this morning at St Francis' Bournemouth, and celebrated All Saints. Some of the children represented certain of the Company of Heaven; I was introduced to St Sebastian with a tennis racquet - patron saint of Sportmen, I was told - I suppose it was because he became a dartboard for his persecutors. Then we had Francis (of course) with a collection of furry animals, St Vitus (in tutu) as Patron of Dance, and a very regal St Adelaide. I'd had to google her; born 931, daughter of Rudolph of Burgundy, betrothed as a child to Lothair of Provence. When Lothair died, leaving her with a young daughter, she was imprisoned for refusing to marry the son of Beringarius who succeeded Lothair. It is all exciting stuff .. and she is also called Adelheid. But no doubt you knew that already.

We sought for Saints in the Congregation

Then we got down to the business of talking about who is and who is not a saint. The epistle teaches us that we are children of God; and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. So we went through the congregation finding potential saints... since Saints is what we are all called to be. We wondered about John Henry Newman; had be been a Saint all the time? Surely he had; the Church simply reassures us about this when it Beatifies or Canonises its saints. And today is for all the thousands which no one can number, unbeatified, un-named, yet all part of that company which no man can number - the Company of Heaven who share the Bread of Immortality with us, at the Table of the Lord.
Tomorrow it is All Saints again, this time in the approaches to Canterbury... a confirmation at Harbledown.

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