“Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus”
“Do the little things” (St. David)
The legacy of Saint David (Dewi Sant) of Wales is one of encouragement and inspiration in our own Christian faith.
As one of the four patron saints of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, he is distinctive in that he was native-born; he is credited with helping to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of Western Britain
Much of our knowledge about David’s early life is based on early oral tradition and monastic writings from 500 years after his death. Many believe that his mother was a nun (later St. Non) who had been ravaged by Prince Sant of Ceredigion and that his birthplace was on the Pembrokeshire coast, a place still marked by a holy well which possesses healing powers.
During his life, David was a monk, abbot and bishop in the Celtic tradition. He travelled widely, founding many monasteries, and inspiring the people he met with his powerful but simplistic style of teaching. On returning to his homeland, he built a monastery (on which site St. David’s Cathedral now stands) where the monks lived by a simple but rigorous Rule of Life; one of self-denial, working the land, studying the Scriptures and prayer. Meals were frugal with water, rather than the usual ale being the permitted drink.
He was a renowned Preacher, able to communicate clearly and simply. It wasn’t long before he was associated with performing miracles the most famous of which is the springing up of a hill beneath his feet so that he could be heard more clearly.
For David, however, his vision was simple; that by the grace of God, he was the channel by which people could build their own relationship with God.
It is said that he died on 1st March 589 (hence his feast day) but it was what he said shortly before his death that has resonated throughout the ages,
“Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before”.
In other words, David is telling us that as people of faith, we mustn’t waste a single moment; that we should use each one as an opportunity to draw closer to God, serve him and so find solace and strength in all that we do.