I have known of people who were delivered from death in some extra-ordinary way and the experience transformed. them I understand that Martin Luther’s first sense of call to follow Christ came when he and a friend went walking through a storm, and lightning struck his companion and killed him. Luther wondered for what purpose he had been spared.
St. Richard, who was born in 1197 of lowly origins. His father died while he was yet at school, and treacherous guardians exploited him and his elder brother, so he left school to help his brother who was expected to farm bare and poor land.While Richard was in Oxford he had a remarkable experience. He had been invited out to dine and had just seated himself, when a messenger called him from the table saying ‘a stranger is at the door to see you at once’. Richard hurried to the door but there was no visitor and no one to be seen.He returned to the dining hall to find the guests in great consternation, for in his brief absence a huge part of the roof had fallen onto the very seat he had just vacated. What awesome timing!
When Richard became a priest many stories of his humble, loving, Christ-like spirit abounded. Even as Bishop of Chichester he lived in poverty and cheerfulness, encouraging all, quoting the Bible that the apostles went with joy from the presence of the Jewish council rejoicing that they were considered worthy to suffer such reproach in the name of Jesus. This is from the Sermon on the Mount.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.Matthew 5: 11-12
Today, the prayer of St. Richard:
Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the pains and insults you have born for us and for all the benefits you have wrought for us. O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother, may we see you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, for your mercy’s sake.
Now read Daniel Ch.6.