On Tuesday I arrived at the Cathedral piazza, which I know so well, to see a screen with Mass being streamed and the whole place lit up and filled with those waiting to get close to the relics. Those lights which shone out into the Autumn twilight were indeed very literal. However, there was a greater light behind them, a light of united hope. To me the greatest gift of seeing the casket containing the relics, and running my hand over the glass casing that surrounds them, was not so much about personal desires and intentions but the hopes of all those who have come close to it since it begun its travels. Of course I believe that St Therese is ready and willing to intercede for us, listening for our individual, hopeful and heartfelt petitions, yet the symbolism of this event was certainly about something greater than this.
I felt that the most valuable thing created was a connection between the faithful of the world, in all their trials, around somebody who lived with the simplicity of love. It was about being aware of the power of that simplicity, of what a desire to love can do, how it is still bringing people together in a community of sorts. A community of hope and I am so grateful to Therese for that. Beyond the value of any ornate casket is the value of the prayer uttered by each of those who have looked upon it, prayer that will never lose its value, nor the ear of she whose relics are within.
Whoever wished to make others believe that there is little faith on this island of ours has been aptly corrected and we are left with that sense of hope, that faith, which comes with a shower of graces. Need I say more? I think not - the answer to prayer is already so clear and so present. We are already thankful, yet I am sure this will not be the end of the thanks - I am sure there are many still to come. All we need do is wait and pray...
Pictures of the relics tour of England on the bbc here.
I pray that the next journey will be as successful but doubtless it will. St Therese pray for us!
Prayer to St Therese of the Child Jesus
Teach us how to open our hearts without reserve to the Holy Spirit as you did, to seek and find God's will in all the crises and choices, in the joys and disappointments of our lives. Gain for us too the grace to do his will with courage and untroubled hearts, so that we may radiate a joy and gladness like yours in service of Our Lord.