Yesterday was the feast day of ST Giles. Who, I asked?
He was an eighth century Christian hermit, living in cave in the lower Rhone valley and was valued by the local citizens.
His close friend was a deer, but the hunters came around, shot at the deer and wounded Giles.
He became renowned and a monastery was built in the area. The town of St Gilles du Gard was on one of the routes of the Camino pilgrimage, and his reputation spread. Edinburgh’s High Kirk is dedicated to St Giles, and so are many other places.
Because of his wounds which caused physical disabilities he is patron saint of the disabled.
This led me to think of the Paralympics just finishing in Tokyo.
What amazing injuries and health struggles of body and mind, the athletes have overcome, what efforts they, and often families and friends, have made over many years for them to achieve the prowess they enjoy. And not only physical ones, athletes with mental debilities are included.
It is an example, to others those who suffer from these situations, and in a way to us all, for none of us are perfect in body mind or spirit. A lady with a sadly twisted body I once met said to me, “you can see my disabilities, I can’t see yours. “
But equally however hard we try when, on the media, we hear that “you can be anything you want to be”. That can be discouraging, because we cannot all be great athletes, academics, or rich and famous, however much we might want to be.
But we can all be what God intends us to be – it’s finding out what that is. St Giles obviously found it; we can pray for that to be true for ourselves.