Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Venerating Relics


Yesterday at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, they finished the Divine Mercy Chaplet and a Benediction service with venerating relics. The priest held one for people to come up and venerate, then there were several others at side altars. I didn't catch who the different relics were of, there were so many, but I think one was of St. Faustina.

People kissed, touched, or bowed before the relics.

I was not among them.

I don't reject the teachings concerning relics. I don't question the validity of venerating them.  Nor do I think less of people who physically venerate a relic. I am happy for them, in fact, because of how meaningful and special it is for them. It's like the Traditional Latin Mass. It's not something I'm interested in attending - but I fully support the right of people for whom it is meaningful to do so.

I'm just not a physical person - not in that way. On Good Friday, for example, when people go up to venerate the cross, I generally don't kiss it as so many do. I bow.

So when I have an opportunity, as I did yesterday, to venerate saints, I prefer to remain where I am. I pray to God, and, if the saint is someone who is important to me in some way, I ask for him/her to pray for me. When we had a relic of St. Francis at a Franciscan event last year, for example, I asked for his prayers.

As for those who venerated the relics yesterday in physical ways, may God be with you and give you the blessing you need.

(But in keeping with my off-beat sense of humor, and given the ages of most of the people at the shrine, I did scribble a silly haiku:

Divine Mercy Shrine -
venerating relics
with fellow relics)

(mea culpa!)

Pax et bonum

1 comment:

Barb, ofs said...

I'm very behind on blogs. But I am with you there--we're probably 2 of the very few "Secular Franciscan Hermits!" I have found many Franciscans to have a great need to touch or kiss religious articles. But it's not my thing.
Then again, if I'm alone at Adoration, you'll find me singing (generally psalm-based hymns) and that would probably scandalize the people who venerate relics.
"There are different gifts, but the same Spirit..."