With all the destruction of shrines of the saints at the time of the reformation, one shrine remained in place until today and that is the shrine of today’s saint, Edward the Confession. Although the Shrine was despoiled by Henry VIII his body was left. The rebuilt Shrine is regarded as the centre of the Abbey and five kings and four queens lie buried in his Chapel.
In the Office of Readings for today’s feast there is part of a sermon given by Ronald Knox which he preached in Westminster Abbey. In his homily he said:
“When we venerate St Edward, we venerate a failure… Not that there have been great saints who were also great kings, great statement, great warriors. But because we do not let ourselves be blinded by the lure of worldly success as to forget that true statesmanship is exercised in the council chamber, and the true warfare fought on the battlefield of the human soul.”
Everyone of us has a different path to holiness. Yet we are call called to be saints, to be holy. St Edward did this as a king. He was canonised for his holy life for the way he lived out the Beatitudes, that were proclaimed in the Gospel today. Knox says:
“our Confessor was a successful man, because of his simple piety, in the unaffected generosity of his nature, he set himself to serve men about him by easing their burdens, relieving their necessities, by confirming them in their allegiance to the faith.”
We too are called to great holiness, to be a saint.
Let the gift of the Spirit fill you, strengthen you, lead you to live out the Beatitudes today.
St Edward pray for us.