Thursday, April 3, 2008

Day by Day: another tale of Tom, Dick and Harry

Saint Richard of Wyche *1197, a pious farm boy of the lower gentry, went on to university at Oxford, Paris and Bologna. He became Bishop of Chichester against the wishes of royal Henry (III) and, for a time, was homeless. His exercise of sanctity was demonstrated in his insistence of correcting his priests and his generosity to the poor, precisely his office and duty as a christian. His canonisation was within a decade of his death. The guild of milanese coachman chose him as their patron.

Medieval England was intensely christian in many respects. His grave by the high altar in the cathedral became a pilgrimage center. His shrine was looted and destroyed on the command of Henry VIII, in 1538, as part of his plunder and pillage campaign against the one, true church. His bones were to be destroyed, as Becket’s and others were, but the zealousness of Henry’s courtiers was not quite so and, those, bones were divided and hid.

Upon his deathbed, on the 3rd of April 1253, surrounded by his clergy, he prayed:
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly,
Day by day. Amen.
Would this sound familiar? In the musical Godspell, it became the song; Day by Day.
Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day
Are these the sentiments of the youth of the age of Aquarius or a servant of God in his middle 50s, full of the experience of life and of completed mental faculties? He recognizes Christ fully and wants to be continually, more acquainted with his "Redeemer, friend and brother". It is not the rhyming joy of frenzy, but the warm, intense, sincerity of love.

Perhaps, Richard echoed from Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians:

6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God, and not of us.
8 In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not distressed; we are straitened, but are not destitute;
9 We suffer persecution, but are not forsaken; we are cast down, but we perish not:
10 Always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies.
11 For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake; that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13 But having the same spirit of faith, as it is written: I believed, for which cause I have spoken; we also believe, for which cause we speak also:
14 Knowing that he who raised up Jesus, will raise us up also with Jesus, and place us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes; that the grace abounding through many, may abound in thanksgiving unto the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man is corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal.

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