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Of dust and breath

[ 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.


One Response to “Of dust and breath”

  1. Nick Says:

    Moving…. No matter what the beliefs of man are, their relics,their art work,and their soles are what is left behind in those pieces.They should all be respected,no matter what the religion…

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