I am a great fan of St David. The first cathedral I can remember getting up close and personal with is the beautiful building in St David’s, which my Mum told me was the smallest city in the UK. I loved the Cathedral because it was so very different from the neo-Classical Georgian church I called ‘mine’. The Cathedral was huge, it has a choir, it had a vaulted ceiling and it had bones. When I was six or seven, these were the things that struck me. And even in all the differences, I felt at home there, a sense of community, pride and shared ownership. When I go back as an adult, all my responses are overlaid on my inner child – I have never lost my sense of wonder at the place.
Place is important – I love the tiny city and its wild surroundings too, and have very happy memories of visiting St Non’s Chapel (she was St David’s mum), St Justinian’s (with its lifeboat station) and various points between, in all sorts of weather, as an adult and as a child. But before this starts to sound too much like the reminiscences of a third rate travel writer, back to St David himself. His life was certainly remarkable, but it is his “Little Way” that truly speaks to me of Christ and of God.
‘Be Joyful. Keep the Faith. Do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.’
I think most people find God regularly in the small things, not in the massive events. We don’t have huge life changing “road to Damascus” moments every day. But we do speak to others, see our surroundings, live our lives. That’s where we find God and reflect Christ’s love for us to others. St David loved the little things, and I love him for that.
But his day has other significance too – the national day for Wales, with its glorious daffodils and leeks – food for the eye and the stomach. The daffodils too remind me of my Mum, who loved them so much. It is also the anniversary of me breaking my good ankle, many years ago now. I recall a few horrid weeks of being on crutches, where my good leg was my bad leg, and my bad leg was all I could rely on. My seven-year-old self learned a great deal about pain management. And about how not to break ankles.
St David’s Day carries many layers of meaning for me, in a way that our other national saints don’t. Have a very happy day, and if you have time, ponder the benefit of the Little Way.