Published under the imprimatur of Archbishop John Murray, 01/27/1954
The founding pastor of St. Richard’s Catholic Church wrote the following as part of a Richardmas sermon:
“He was indeed a worker of miracles. His healing of the little lame boy is commemorated on one of the paintings at the back of the church. But it is in the other picture, I think, that we find the thing that made Saint Richard a saint—his virtue. Here it is that we find the true ruler of his diocese, and in this rule his likeness to Christ, for that is what virtue is. Perhaps the meaning of the bishop’s crosier, or staff, can best tell us how close we are to follow in the life of Saint Richard. Saint Thomas says that the crosier means three things; the straight part is to guide the faithful, and so it is held high, the crook on the end is to catch those who are erring in life’s ways, and the point on the end to prod the lazy that they more quickly follow Christ.
“At first despoiled of his diocese by a greedy king, he nevertheless demanded that diocese from the king—it was first of all God’s and he demanded that Caesar give to God what was God’s. Laughed from the court by the king’s partisans because he would not bow to the king’s will, Richard put his trust in God, knowing full well that “He is the reward of good and evil.”
“When he was finally given his church he found it broken and impoverished. The wolves had come in and devoured what was to be the food of the sheep, the greedy had taken the food from the mouths of the poor. Yet he who was a successor to the Apostles, prince of the Church and lord of the realm, lived as the poorest beggar, calling to mind the words of our Lord, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He lived as his Lord did, “the foxes have their dens but the Son of Man had not whereupon to lay his head.”
“He tempered justice with mercy. No one in his diocese who felt the scourge of his justice—and was truly repentant—was long without his tender comfort and mercy, “for the Lord is just and His Mercy endures forever.”
“Saint Richard became all things to all men. He was the poorest of the poor, yet rich in virtue, he was the humblest servant of those who needed his help, yet the diligent and prudent ruler of his diocese. Nobles sought his advice and counsel, but before these, he would listen to the trials of the poor wife of the village in his diocese. Because he was faithful in these little things, God raised him up to the very throne of heaven itself. Such is the virtue of Saint Richard. This is the legacy which he had given to us who are under his patronage.”