Wednesday in the Second Full Week of Lent
March 8, 2023

Today’s Lenten reflection focuses on Saint David of Wales, an important sixth century bishop whose influence was essential for Welsh Christian history. He is also the patron saint of Wales. David was born on the westerly tip of Pembrokeshire and educated at Ty Gwyn under Abbot Paulinus. Tradition says that David and three friends built a chapel and monastic cell where Llanthony Abbey now stands. While they waited on direction from God there, they were guided to build a large monastic center on the site of what is now St. David’s Cathedral. Saint David became renowned as a teacher and preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches in Wales, Dumnonia, and Brittany. His best-known miracle is said to have taken place when he was preaching in the middle of a large crowd: the village of Llanddewi Brefi stands on the spot where the ground on which he stood is reputed to have risen up to form a small hill. A white dove, which became his emblem, was seen settling on his shoulder. The Monastic Rule of David prescribed that Welsh monks had to pull the plough themselves without draught animals, and must drink only water and eat only bread with salt and herbs. The monks were to spend their evenings in prayer, reading and writing and reflecting on holy things. No personal possessions were allowed; even to say “my book” was considered an offence. Whether or not the Welsh monks followed these directions to the letter is under debate, but Saint David certainly lived a simple life and practiced holy asceticism, teaching his followers to refrain from eating meat and drinking beer. His final words to his people were, “Be happy and keep your faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.” Another account adds, “Always be of one mind.” It was said that at his death, “kings mourned him as a judge, the older people as a wise brother, the younger as a kind father.”

Prayer

Teach us, our God and King,
To love you in each person:
To love by seeing the little things,
To love by cherishing the little things,
To love by serving in little things,
As Saint David called us to do.
Amen.