Saint Bede the Venerable

Today the English church honours the memory of Saint Bede, the most notable of all the Anglo-Saxon scholars.  He wrote around 40 books mainly dealing with theology and history.  His greatest work The Ecclesiastical History of the English People is still in print today and gives us an invaluable insight into the life of the Church and the State in England spanning eight centuries.  Saint Bede died quietly in his monastery in Wearmouth on this day in 735.  In 1899 Pope Leo XIII named him a Doctor of the Church – the only Englishman to hold this honour.  Let us ask Saint Bede’s continued protection and intercession for the Church in England.

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We all miss people: parents, siblings, best friends, school pals.  Some have moved away, others have died, and some have just lost touch with us.  Not having these people around and losing their friendship can be painful.  So we do what we can to remember them: we look at their photos, we read their letters and emails, and we try to remember all the good times we had with them.  But there’s no substitute for actually being with them; and at times we would give anything to have them with us again.

The Apostles would feel a similar pain when Our Lord was no longer physically present with them.  After witnessing his death they would weep and mourn, just as Our Lord said they would.  But they would have much more than memories to get them by.  They would be eyewitnesses to his Resurrection.  Their joy would be complete once they had seen him Risen from the dead, and once they understood their mission to proclaim his Gospel to the ends of the earth.

We too can experience the same joy they did.  But we’re also human, and we can’t hide from reality.  When we’re down in the dumps, Our Lord can seem very distant, almost as distant as he did to the Apostles after the Crucifixion.  Our Lord said he will return again, but what about our present trials?  And what about the evil that continues to consume the world?  All these things can cause us to wonder whether God has abandoned us.

But Our Lord never really left us, he is not only with us, he is within us, by the power of his Holy Spirit.  And so when we find ourselves struggling, all we have to do is call to him and remember what Saint Paul said: “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

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