October, the end of summer, the start of Autumn. The weather might be anything, wet and windy, hot and sunny, cool and grey, the leaves have started to turn colour, and the days are shortening fast.
But the month of October is a very busy one when it comes to celebrating Saints and Praying for Peace..
We begin with the feast day of St Francis of Assisi on the 4th. A good time to join Francis in giving thanks for God’s good creation, celebrating the beauties and bounty of the natural world. And a time too for repentance, for acknowledging how carelessly we have used God’s gift to us, the ways we have destroyed or polluted it, committing ourselves to do better.
One World Week begins on the 24th of this month, the aim of which is “to share understanding about the global issues that affect us all, and to recognise we can all make a difference”. It can still be a time for us to celebrate the diversity of the one world we share, and to think and pray about how we can become better neighbours, locally and globally. Better neighbours, in a world of conflict.
October also brings the Week of Prayer for World Peace, an interfaith initiative to pray for peace in this world wherever there is oppression, persecution and hurt. We pray for all who continue to work for peace, from international conflicts to family relationships.
During October, we especially remember three of the Apostles, St Luke, St Simon and St Jude. St Luke was a doctor and evangelist, St Simon, better known as The Zealot took the message of the Gospel into Egypt and then joined St Simon, often known as Thaddeus in Persia (now known as modern day Iran).
St Simon is the Patron Saint of Couriers and Tanners, St Jude is the Patron Saint of desperate and lost causes, and St Luke is the Patron Saint of Doctors and Surgeons and was influential in the founding of the Christian Church. He is credited to have written the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts in the New Testament. He is often depicted in churches by the symbol of an Ox representing service, strength and sacrifice.
These three saints were three ordinary men, who when called upon did extraordinary things by taking the gospel message throughout the world for the love of Jesus Christ so that others too might share in that love.
As a priest, I find that following in such footsteps in this small corner of a very big world sometimes daunting, sometimes immense and sometimes exhausting, but always, always a privilege to serve this community in His name.
With my love and prayers as always,
Rev Mandy Xx