Celtic Missional Advent December 17th: Your troubles can be a blessing

Advent December 17th: Saint Tydecho’s Day
Luke 2:34-35
Even your troubles can be a blessing

“Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Saint Tydecho stained glassTroubles are common to all people. Some we cause to others. Some we bring upon ourselves. Some troubles come without instigation, or provocation. Some troubles come even in opposition to good we attempt. In cases, where troubles come our way (especially those which come without our part in having caused them), it is not uncommon to find a silver lining in the cloud of troubles. Even the darkest struggles in life have a flip side to the story. We find this as a paradigm of the spiritual life itself. Christ was crucified, but rose from the dead. Mary’s soul would be pierced with sorrows during the life and death of her son, yet she remains the most venerated woman in Christian history. There is a silver lining to the struggles in your life, and a missional mind will somehow find that strand of hope in the midst of darkness. Finding hope in darkness is one of the disciplines of continuing to move forward.

Photo by Liz Dawson
Photo by Liz Dawson, Saint Tydecho’s Churchyard

December 17th is Saint Tydecho’s Day. Though little is known of the life of this 6th century Welsh saint, there are tales, and a cywydd (a Welsh verse in couplets with 7 syllable lines) assigned to Tydecho. The church of Saint Tydecho is in Llanmawddwy, Gwynedd, Wales. It is said that Maelgwyn Gwynedd persecuted Tydecho. One day while causing trouble, Maelgwyn found himself stuck to a large blue stone, which Tydecho purportedly slept upon. Maelgwyn could not rise until he repented and asked for Tydecho’s mercy. It is said that Cynan a Powys chieftain abducted Tydecho’s sister Tegfedd. Tydecho prayed and Cynan and his men were struck blind. Tydecho prayed for their healing, Tegfedd was returned, and Cynan gave land to Tydecho for his mission.

Prayer: When the dark surrounds me, and when the clouds of trouble fog the path I walk, I will look to You, O Lord for help. In Christ, and in Mary, and in Saint Tydecho with his wild tales of persecution I find the light of hope, and embrace that hope for myself. In this hope I find strength to stay upon the path, and walk with You.

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