Saint David of Wales,
Stained glass window designed by William Burges (1827-1881),
Executed circa 1875,
Stained glass and lead
© Castell Coch, Wales

Saint David of Wales,
Stained glass window designed by William Burges (1827-1881),
Executed circa 1875,
Stained glass and lead
© Castell Coch, Wales

Gospel of 1 March 2024

Feast of Saint David, Bishop

Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’

Reflection on the stained glass windows

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint David, bishop and patron saint of Wales. Born around the year 500 AD, David (or Dewi Sant in Welsh) came from a noble lineage. His life, shrouded in legend, is mainly known through the hagiographical "Buchedd Dewi" ("Life of David"), written by Rhygyfarch in the late 11th century. Embracing the ascetic life from a young age, David became a priest and traveled through Wales and beyond, spreading the message of Christianity. He is credited with founding several monastic communities, the most famous of which is the abbey at Mynyw (now St Davids; the name for the Diocese of Menevia is derived from the ancient name Mynyw), where he became bishop. His monastic community was known for its extreme asceticism. The monks refrained from drinking beer or wine and ploughed their fields by hand without the aid of oxen, living a life of simplicity and hard work.

Saint David's most famous miracle is said to have occurred during a synod at Llanddewi Brefi, where he caused the ground to rise beneath him as he preached, so his voice could be heard by all. A white dove, seen settling on his shoulder, symbolized God's grace and blessing on his mission. His last words to his followers, from a sermon just before his death on 1st March 589, were: "Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do."

Our stained glass window depicts Saint David with the white dove on his shoulder, standing on a raised ground. The window was designed by William Burges (1827-1881) for the chapel at Castell Coch, a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle built above the village of Tongwynlais in South Wales. William Burges was among the greatest of the Victorian art-architects. He sought in his work to escape from both 19th-century industrialisation and the Neoclassical architectural style, attempting to reflect rather the architectural and social values of a utopian medieval England. He was influential beyond the British borders. In 1856 he received the first award in an international competition for the Cathedral of Lille, France. He also designed the Cathedral of Brisbane, Australia in 1859 and in 1862 St. Finbar’s Cathedral in Cork.

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Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago

Found this quote from a previous commentary on this passage:
‘As Christians our job is not to get everyone to like us… Jesus said we are to be salt, not sugar’……

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago

I got to thinking about salt becoming tasteless. It made me think of myself sometimes when I am more than half hearted…
The light on the lamp stand as well. My light is often just a glimmer like my scented candles getting near the end – next to useless.
Ah well, the only way is up, please God.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago

I have just been connected to CA and I have come across several surprises: Today’s Gospel is not the same as that proposed by my diocese and by the saint you celebrate today, St David Bishop, I have never heard of him.
I leave the gospel of the vineyard and meditate on salt and light …

…. It would seem that Christ is asking us not to be humble: “Shine your light before men so that they may see your good works -but it is now where the important thing comes:- and glorify your Father who is in heaven”.
Let us not stop doing good for that false humility, the secret is that they do not glorify us but God, but remember that we are light, salt, we are made to shine, to give flavor, that the world feels our presence.
Christ works miracles. The gospel says that if salt is distorted it is no longer useful, but everything has a solution while life lasts because God is omnipotent. If we think that being salt of the earth, we have lost the taste, let us trust fully that there is one who can give it back, make us be again salt of the good, from being tasteless salt to being salt that gives flavor. If we consider ourselves a lamp without light, of those that would have to be put under the table because they no longer light, we will approach Christ because He is the light, it is He who gives meaning to our life, He will make us what we should be and so we will set fire to the whole world.

Thus they may one day also exclaim from us as they exclaimed from the first Christians: “Look how they love each other”. Courage!, cheer up! Like the first!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Very encouraging, Elvira, thank you. Do read a biography of St. David. I expect you’ve gathered he is the patron Saint of Wales. St. Patrick for Ireland, St. Andrew for Scotland, and St. George for England. We share George and Andrew with several other nations, but David and Patrick are home-grown. Celtic Christianity is very strong in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Please don’t ask me to explain Ireland = Eire, and Northern Ireland, it would take months!!

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

I have already learned: St David, a missionary, simple and austere bishop, founder of many monasteries. I like the history of the leek, not glamorous but curious.
Does the term “Celtic Christianity” have a special meaning with respect to continental Crisyianism? I’m reading about this and it’s very interesting 🧐

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Sorry, do you mean continental Christianity, Elvira? There are two parts to the meaning of the Celts. One, which you’ll know, are the peoples from central Europe and Anatolia, who migrated westwards and are recorded, in Spain, France and the British Isles, and elsewhere. For example: Galleci, Galli, Celtiberi, and the Lusitani, in Spain. And the Britons, Picts and Gaels in Britain.
But “The relation between ethnicity, language and culture in the Celtic world is unclear and debated.” So, a subject for study!
However, Celtic Christianity, as understood now, though it derives from the early middle ages, describes a form of worship very much grounded in the natural world, referring to it in the images used in prayers and writings. For example in
the Celtic tradition: “The Holy Spirit is often represented not as a peaceful dove but instead as a ‘wild goose.’ The wild goose reveals a spirit which is passionate, noisy, and courageous. This symbol reminds us that God’s spirit cannot be tamed or contained. I suspect the wild goose was at work in the election of Pope Francis and continues to stir up the world through his homespun yet poignant language and prophetic actions.” Quote from Sr. Terry Rickard, OP.
Another feature is that everything receives a blessing, your home and everything in it, your cooking, your plants, your animals, and there are prayers that can be said for each thing. Much honour is also paid to the Holy Trinity.
There’s a great deal more to be found on-line, of course! Hope this helps a little.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Most interesting Noelle. I had quite a few religious in my Irish family’s ancestors including a famous Franciscan friar who converted millions of Irishmen to teetotalism! Sounds like a joke but no!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

He must have had considerable charisma!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

His name was Father Theobald Mathew OFM Cap.
You can google him – very interesting chap

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Have had a look, indeed an interesting character and great social reformer. Snazzy dresser, too!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Yes because of the penal laws of the time he was never allowed to wear his Franciscan habit and had to go about in everyday clothes. He had a statue in O’Connell street in Dublin but the council decided he was no longer relevant and removed him. Now in a shed in the council depot. Ireland loses its history.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I did wonder why he was in civvies. Shame about the statue. Have you one of the paintings of him?

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

I have souvenirs of him but I can’t really show them. I wonder what tomorrow will show up for our CA community?

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Very, very interesting….. many things to discover and to learn…. , I continue researching, thanks

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

Same here ….the selection from my diocese is different too…..today’s Gospel in my diocese is from Saint Matthew, but it is The Parable of the Tenants…..the parable where Christ explains how the Kingdom of God will be given to a people that will produce fruit.

anyhoo…..
This Gospel selection is just as beautiful. I guess it is the American in me, but whenever I hear the part of the Gospel……”You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.”……I cannot but think of its use in American political rhetoric…..many of our American politicians….the early Puritan leader, John Winthrop ……and all the way to President Ronald Reagan…..especially Ronald Reagan during the Cold War years…….used that phrase….even now in 2024 that phrase is in use to define American exceptionalism……AMERICA is the CITY ON A HILL, a “beacon of hope” for the world…….America is THE exceptional nation that others must follow……I guess that is why England and all of the UK follow America so obediently (behaving like suppliants) because America is so exceptional……i find it somewhat amusing…..the Canadian in me finds it somewhat arrogant and hubristic LOL.
One of my mom’s favorite movies was “The Trouble with Angels”…….a somewhat silly and schmaltzy movie…but she liked the part where
Rosalind Russel (an actress from long ago) said: “To bend but not to break… to yield but not capitulate… to have pride but also humility”…….my mom could not stand people who were arrogant LOL…….Americans can be somewhat arrogant……more humiity, less pride LOL.

Saint David of Wales, patron saint of Wales, pray for us.

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

Jamie, sometimes we get great news from the US: “Dr Ruth Gottesman has donated $1 billion to the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York”. Students will not have to pay tuition. 👍👍👍👍

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
1 month ago
Reply to  Elvira

I hope you understood my meaning……I love America and I think it is a truly GREAT country……my parents thought America was the greatest country on earth as do I……..but something happened in the 21st century……its scares me…….America is a young country, relatively speaking……..America fell for a trap…….our destiny was changed……it was altered…….’they’ knew……they knew about our pride and how to take us down a few pegs…….we fell for the trap. I use the mysterious ‘they’ LOL……america went “searching for monsters.” (i’m referring to John Quincy Adams)……..its rather complicated to explain my meaning…….

Are you familiar with the quote by Leo Tolstoy: ‘History would be a wonderful thing – if it were only true.’…….it upsets me sooo much…….

but i will use a Frenchman’s quote to make me feel better: The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults…Alexis de Tocqueville

We must change our ways……I think I myself must change and ALSO my nation must……we cannot continue the current path.

_____________
……
would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

Archaic Torso of Apollo
(Rainer Maria Rilke)

Elvira
Member
Elvira
1 month ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal

Oh,….. You have touched my soul, I love Rilke 🧡

Janey M
Member
Janey M
1 month ago

It is the World Day of Prayer this afternoon. It is a service of all denominations prepared by Christian women of a different country each year. The services are prepared years in advance, by God’s Grace this year’s has been prepared by the Christian women of Palestine. God works in mysterious ways.

There will be a service near you wherever you are in the world. Go along and support women in Palestine, Christian and other faiths. Details are on the web.

In the UK, it will be held at 2pm. It is a wave of prayer that encompasses the whole world as the sun travels. It may well have past some of you but prayer with us at 2pm our time.

Last edited 1 month ago by Janey M
Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago

I was puzzled as to why Caerleon is written on right hand side of the window, as it’s primarily known as a Roman fortress. Seems St. David presided over a synod there in 569AD. It’s about 18 mls from Castell Coch, so not really sure what the link is between the two. It’s a nice image, and I’m not being critical in saying that, it’s just really nice! I especially like the dove.
St. David’s asceticism links him perfectly with Lent. His monks drank no wine or beer, and had to pull the plough with their own man power.
Yesterday my friend and I visited a wonderful vegetarian delicatessen. There were many types of salt for sale: pink, Cornish, seaweed, fleur de sel, black salt. All adding different levels and intensities of flavour – and you only need a little bit to transform a dish……
Lord help me to make a difference somewhere, or for somebody, in the week ahead 🙏 Amen.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 month ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

“You are the salt of the earth.” Pointing out that salt comes in different types deepens these words from Jesus.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

Let’s hope we keep the temperature down today and reflect more on matters of the next life rather than this one!

Castell Coch is the most interesting nineteenth century folly outside Cardiff built by the Marquess of Bute who was the richest man in Britain at the time. It’s very interesting if offbeat and I remember a poor quality cafe selling stale cakes.

Are there any Welsh people that read CA?

Janey M
Member
Janey M
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus. I am here, Chazbo.

Last edited 1 month ago by Janey M
Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Janey M

And the proof! Happy Feast Day Janey.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Janey M

Splendid Janey!
I have a Welsh great grand-parent. I suppose that makes me one eighth. I had a DNA test done which some experts poo-poo as being very vague. I knew my mother was Irish but I was told that the rest of my make up was Scottish or Welsh, and I had thought myself English🤔
We went to a hotel a few years ago in France and the receptionist said to his wife, we’ve got some Anglo-Saxons here in a rather throwaway manner!
Well monsieur “Je suis celtique, comme les Bretons!’ It broke the ice and we had a very nice dinner that evening.

Debbie Thompson
Member
Debbie Thompson
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

The Breton anthem is the same tune as the Welsh National anthem!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
1 month ago

Interesting! Thanks, Debbie.

Debbie Thompson
Member
Debbie Thompson
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I’m Welsh. Very disappointed to hear of the poor quality of cakes at Castell Coch.
Today I’m enjoying eating the Welsh cakes my friend brought round for me.
Happy St David’s Day! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

I’m going to look up the recipe for Welsh cakes and play the Welsh national anthem on Youtube!
Happy St David’s Day and I ask St David to smile down on everyone of Welsh descent!

branagh
Member
branagh
1 month ago

“do the little things….”
showing others the love of Christ doesn’t have to be huge gestures but being kind in the little things of life. thanks for including that quote!

George K
Member
George K
1 month ago
Reply to  branagh

Well said, branagh…I agree, when we do little things with heart-felt love, I believe we please God. I also believe attitudes are contagious, if I keep my attitude and actions loving, they will be received and passed on. The cliche is mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow, the important point is that they do grow. This is a good day, as is every day, to plant our seeds of unconditional love for all of God’s creations and all of God’s creatures.

Marilee Pittman
Member
Marilee Pittman
1 month ago
Reply to  branagh

Do small things with great love

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