Relics of the saints serve several purposes. Firstly, they enable us to honour those men and women who lived lives of heroic virtue, and recognize their great example. In this, a relic helps us to focus our thoughts and prayers. Secondly, they are a reminder of the resurrection, for we know that as the saints now stand at the throne of God, so one day their bodies - and ours - will be raised to share eternal glory. Thirdly, relics remind us of the holiness of our human bodies, and the respect due to our earthly dwelling.One of the loveliest relics we own is this autograph letter (in medieval french) written by St Francis of Assisi. As with all authentic relics, this brings the holy man closer to us, and helps us direct our prayers and thoughts to him.
Wednesday, 3 January 2007
I had cause today to go to the Cathedral crypt, to hunt out a relic for an altar being consecrated in a church in our Diocese. The reliquary cases at the Cathedral are rarely opened, and perhaps because of that we have conserved a wealth of relics.
These are a precious part of the Cathedral's patrimony - and because of that, I have to refuse many requests to donate or to sell them!