Thursday, October 15, 2009
Why the devotion?
Apart from our parish pilgrimage to Aylesford, some of my parishioners went up to Westminster Cathedral to see the relics. One waited for almost three hours. Why the devotion?
I can't imagine most people have read her autobiography, I am sure that most have but a rudimentary knowledge of her life and spirituality. Obviously one reason for the vast numbers is a reaction to the media coverage. Some might suggest that there is a blurring of faith and superstition, or others that in the presence of the relics there is a hope of miracles, the more pious that here was a meeting of heaven and earth.
But if that is so, why are the pilgrims failing to find it week by week in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament? The answer is that we allow the Eucharist to become ordinary, the visit of the relics is extraordinary. It is the same with the relics of St John Southworth which lie within the Cathedral.
Another reason is perhaps that veneration of the relics is about, "me and God", with a degree of chatter with other pilgrims, a chance for quiet reflection whilst one waits, a degree of being buoyed up by demonstrations of other peoples faith, a touch of asceticism in the wait, all topped off with a blessed rose. Unless you are there for something else too, there is no Liturgy of the Word, no sermon. There is no demand made on the individual except God speaking in their heart.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake