‘[T]he Father of Mercies had so amplified and enlarged the bowels of his mercy that, although restrained by the bounds of the three-fold poverty – that is to say the pressing obligations of his debts, the confiscation of the property of his diocese, and above all the pressures of dearth and famine – he could never restrain the natural kindness of his heart which was filled with the generosity of true charity. For instance, Sir Richard de Bagendon, a prudent man who belonged to a military order and who was the saint’s brother according to the flesh, was in trusted with the care of the bishop’s estates. On one occasion he remarked that the Bishop had scarcely enough to provide for his own and therefore should not give so lavishly to such great numbers of the poor; the bishop, however, overflowed in the bowels of his goodness and replied, “My dear brother Richard is it just or right in the sight of God that we should eat and drink from the vessels of gold and silver while Christ in his poor is crucified with hunger and the poor are faint and dying from lack of nourishment?” And he added, “I know very well how to eat and drink from a wooden bowl or platter, just as my father did. Therefore, let these gold and silver vessels be taken and sold and with the money feed the limbs of Christ who redeemed us and ours not with corruptible gold and silver but with his own precious blood. My horse, too, is a fine and valuable animal. Let him be sold as well and let the money he fetches be used to feed Christ’s poor”’.
from the Life of St Richard, Bishop of Chichester by Ralph Bocking
Most merciful Redeemer, who gavest to thy Bishop Richard a love of learning, a zeal for souls, and a devotion to the poor: grant that, encouraged by his example, and aided by his prayers, we may know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day; who livest and reignest with the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon