Monday, 3 January 2022

With the Saints through Christmas (9):
3 January 2022, Saint Fintan of Doone

Saint Fintan of Doone … he is said to have fed a man with leprosy with bread made from corn lately ripened

Patrick Comerford

Christmas is a season that continues for 40 days until the Feast of the Presentation or Candlemas (2 February).

As a new week begins, and before this day gets busy, I am taking some time early this morning for prayer, reflection and reading.

I have been continuing my Prayer Diary on my blog each morning, reflecting in these ways:

1, Reflections on a saint remembered in the calendars of the Church during Christmas;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

This morning, I am reflecting on the life of Saint Fintan of Doone. Although he is a much-forgotten saint, he is, nevertheless, a saint of the Diocese of Limerick.

There are many Irish saints with the name Fintan, including Fintan of Clonenagh (17 February), Saint Fintan, surnamed Munna (21 October), Saint Fintan, Prince of Leinster (15 November) and other Fintans remembered on 1 and 7 January, 21 February, 27 March, 11 May, 9 October, and 14 December.

Saint Fintan of Doone, Co Limerick, however, is clearly identified as the brother of Saint Finlugh and the son of and son to Pipan, son of Tule, who lived at Cliach, according to the life of this saint. Other sources say his father was Diman, a descendant of Mured Manderig, King of Ulster. His mother Alinna was of noble birth, belonging to a family who lived in present-day Co Limerick.

Saint Fintan was a student in Saint Comgall’s school in Bangor, perhaps ca AD 550. His future mission and miracles, for the most part, seem to have been confined to the southern parts of Ireland.

Saint Fintan once asked Saint Finian of Maghbile to lend a book of the Gospels so he could study it, but his request was refused. Saint Comgall, when he heard of this refusal, said to Saint Fintan: ‘If faithful, perhaps, next day you will be in possession of that book of the Gospels.’ And so it came about.

A legend recalls a man suffering with leprosy approaching Saint Comgall and asking for bread made from corn lately ripened. The bread was found miraculously, made from grain that had been produced prematurely.

It is said that Calathmagh, an irreligious king in a district then known as Calathmagh, refused to meet Saint Fintan when he was on a mission, and tried to way as he travelled. But when the king’s agents were blinded, Saint Fintan restored their sight.

Saint Fintan went to a live in a place named Tulach Bennain, but was expelled, only to return later by invitation. Stories are also told of him exorcising demons, and he is celebrated for his generous hospitality.

Saint Fintain later settled in a place named Dunbleisque, later known as Doone in Co Limerick. He is said to have lived to the incredible age of 260, and to have been quite decrepit at the time of his death on 3 January.

The parish of Doone is in the Diocese of Emly. Although the site of his old monastery is no longer known in local or popular tradition, he is associated with a holy well in the area.

John 1: 29-34 (NRSVA):

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ 32 And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’

The prayer in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) invites us to pray this morning (3 January 2022):

Let us pray for the Church of South India, a thriving example of a united and uniting Church.

Yesterday: Bishop Samuel Azariah

Tomorrow: Elizabeth Ann Seton

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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