View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

St. Drithelm: Dead man tells tales

According to my 1985 concise edition of Butler’s Lives of the Saints, today is the feast of St. Drithelm.

(His name is also rendered as Drythelm in some sources, and his feast day is listed as August 17. But I’ll use the book on my shelf.)

St. Drithelm lived in Northumbria in the seventh century. He’s described as “mature” and a rich and religious family man.

(I smell a midlife spiritual crisis in this.)

Around 693, he was thought to have died.

(A lot of husbands look like that on the couch.)

But the next day, when mourners surrounded his bier, he suddenly sat up, scaring the daylights out of all of them except his wife.

(Maybe she had seen him on the couch on Sunday afternoons before.)

He declared that after all he had seen of the afterlife, he was going to change his ways. So he divided his property in thirds among his wife, his children, and the poor, and ran off to become a monk.

(Divorce, medieval style? But what does supposed death fit under? Irreconcilable differences? Alienation of affection? Pauline privilege?)

He spent the rest of his life praying, throwing himself in cold rivers, and telling people “Boy, if you’d seen what I saw.”

(He must have been a blast at parties. "I’ve seen dead people.” “Let’s all go jump in the river!”)


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