[ by Charles Cameron — i have a major post, possibly two, on Ezekiel and Esther, Israel and Iran in prep, and zen just posted a major piece on the era of the creepy-state — so don’t mind me, this is just a brief aside on religious devotion, relics, the heart, the skull, the breath ]
There’s an eerie beauty to relics — and when I read a BBC news piece today titled Dublin patron saint’s heart stolen, about the theft of a relic of St Laurence from Dublin’s Christ Church cathedral (upper image), while the “contemporary” part of me found it perhaps worth a chuckle and certainly paradoxical —
The thief would have needed metal cutters to prise open the iron bars protecting the wooden heart-shaped box holding St Laurence O’Toole’s heart.
— another part of me was saddened, much as I was saddened some years back by the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan.
I hope Dublin gets its spiritual heart back.
And so my mind went back to another relic, and another recent encounter with that eerie beauty — the relic of St Valentine, martyr, which I ran across in a photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew OP (lower image), posted on the saint’s day, February 14th, by Shawn Tribe in the New Liturgical Movement blog, a regular read of mine.
St Valentine, memorialized not by silly cupids (silli putti?) and plump, winged hearts, but by the fellow’s skull…
There’s something there about dust — that we are dust, animated by breath until the dust settles…
There’s an eerie beauty to that thought.