MU Devotion Wednesday 27th May 2020
Tomorrow (28th May) the Church in Wales remembers St Melangell. Saint Melangell was a saint of the 7th century. According to tradition, she came here from Ireland and lived as a hermit in the valley of Pennant near Llangynog, Powys. One day Brochwel, Prince of Powys, was hunting and pursued a hare which took refuge under the folds of Melangell’s garments. The Prince’s hounds fled, and he was moved by her courage and sanctity. He gave her the valley as a place of sanctuary, and Melangell became Abbess of a small religious community. Melangell’s legacy today is seen in the centre of healing that operates at the site of her religious community.
Healing is very much on our minds at the moment, as we marvel at the dedication of those called to provide medical and personal care in often frightening circumstances. In the story of Melangell and the hare, we see healing operating not by direct medical intervention but by the provision of sanctuary. Allowing the one in danger, to be separated and kept safe even when faced with potential personal hardship.
We may feel helpless in the face of the current crisis and feel we should be able to offer more practical help than we are doing. The story of Melangell however, shows us the importance of separation in halting the danger which is around us. Just as she offered sanctuary to the hare, we by keeping ourselves separated from society are stopping the spread of the virus. Not only are we keeping ourselves safe, but we are protecting others by sticking to the rules.
Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength and to love your neighbour as yourself. Our current sacrifice of keeping away from others demonstrates that love, as we protect not only ourselves and our immediate family but also our neighbour in the same loving way. That sense of love and protection of our neighbour will become even more important as we begin to emerge from the protection of our homes into the wider world. Sticking to social distancing to keep ourselves and our neighbour safe as we continue to follow the greatest commandment of all – To Love.
Loving Lord, please help us to do all that we can to keep friend and neighbour, family and stranger, safe and protected from Covid-19. We give thanks for all those who put themselves at risk in order to help the afflicted. Please protect them and keep them safe. In Jesus name we pray. Amen
All my love and prayers,