Are saints boring?
Sabine Baring-Gould a remarkably prolific author and priest wrote over a thousand works. His Lives of the Saints, published in the late nineteenth century, runs to 15 volumes, and presents a wide range of saints. Hidden in the 11th volume, among the saints of October, Baring-Gould tells us of St John of Bridlington (Feast Day 21st October). He writes, quite bluntly,
His life is absolutely devoid of a single incident of interest.
Butler’s Lives of the Saints is more kind, and tells us that the fourteenth century John, born near Bridlington, studied at Oxford, then returned to Bridlington where he lived ‘an exemplary life as a religious…and he carried out his duties with prudence and mildness.’ Which slightly indicates how Baring-Gould could write what he did.
I like St John of Bridlington. Not for him power seeking ambition, grand plans, spectacular miracles, or thrusting sanctity. Instead he seems very content with where God had placed him, and did his best on that small canvas. He was particularly attached to reading and reflecting on St John’s Gospel and urged others to read and study it.
Although his life is without impressive historical event it is impressive that his holiness was apparent to those around him. So much so that within the relatively short period of 22 years after his death he was canonised by Pope Boniface IX.
Although Baring-Gould closes his, brief, account of St John with the words ‘he closed a life without interest in 1379’ for everyday Christians today the faithfulness, prayerfulness and care of St John of Bridlington can be, and is, an inspiration.
Pray that like John the many faithful people who are faithful over a little will hear the blessed words:
Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25.23)