Jul 1, 2011

O'Dangal's Vision

St Martin's relief
Photo by Lawrence OP
I read about this in  The Wonders of Ireland by P. W. Joyce, 1911.

During Ireland's Golden Age of Christianity pilgrims would journey to religious centers such as Rome and Tours. They greatly venerated Martin of Tours, probably because of the association that they believed had existed between Martin and St. Patrick. One day while a man named O'Dangal approached Martin of Tours'a tomb he saw a great crowd of people. When he got closer he discovered that while there was a great deal of activity, he heard no sound. In the middle of the crowd he saw his mother passing out meat and milk to the poor. He knew his mother was in Ireland, however. He decided to test his vision and he sneaked up and took the lid to the milk vessel. Then he stood back and saw his mother searching about for it. He kept the lid, continued his journey, and then went home to Ireland.

He asked his mother what she had been doing on the very day he'd had his vision. She said she had called together the poor of her community and had passed out meat and milk. But strangely, she had lost the lid to her milk vessel. He produced it and she saw that this was indeed the missing lid.

This story was told to persuade the people that an arduous and dangerous journey to a holy site need not be made in order to do good--the work the venerated saint had done in his lifetime. Do good where you are.

This rhyme brings the point home:

To go to Rome
is much of trouble, little of profit:
The King whom you seek there,
Unless you bring him with you,
you will not find. 

"Lord God, you were glorified by the life and death of Saint Martin.
Renew the wonders of your grace in our hearts 
so that neither death nor life may separate us from your love.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen." ~ This prayer accompanied the photograph above.


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