I wonder what you had on your mind when you woke up this morning?
On this day in 306 AD, a Roman soldier called Constantine woke up in the army barracks at York, to find himself later that day being made the Emperor of the entire Roman Empire. And also today, in 1603, King James the Sixth of Scotland woke up, down south, and was crowned James the First of England in Westminster Abbey. Whether it was Christianity becoming the world’s primary religion, or the Union of England with Scotland, the events both set in train remain huge political issues to this day.
But it’s not just rulers-in-waiting or politicians who’re waking up to a big day. You may not have Brexit in your in-tray, but you may be making decisions that affect people’s lives. Maybe you work in the NHS; or in the law or public service; or maybe you’re responsible for vulnerable people. Or perhaps you just have a really difficult work situation on your mind, that could make other people’s lives worse, or better, and you’re not sure what to do.
Earlier this year, a ComRes survey found that a surprising one in five adults turns to prayer in a crisis, despite saying they’re not religious. Some people pray to God, and some pray to the saints.
I once asked a Catholic priest why praying to Mary was such a big thing. He said that when people were feeling a bit scared of God, they could pray to Jesus; and if they were feeling scared of Jesus, they might well feel more comfortable asking his Mum instead. I like this very down-to-earth approach to seeking spiritual support. And tomorrow happens to be the Feast of St Anne, who was Jesus’ Granny.
She’s the patron saint of single women, housewives, women in labour, grandmothers, teachers, horse-riders, cabinet-makers, miners, and sailors, so she covers a breadth of humanity. And I’m sure like most Grannies, she can turn her hand to most things.
Everyone wakes up to the unknown. But I believe we’re not alone, and that sometimes, just asking for help, from whatever source, can make us feel just a little bit better.
I have been delivering “Thought For The Day” pieces on BBC Radio Scotland since November 2016. By kind permission these pieces are reproduced in blog posts here on my website. To find my other pieces click here go to my Thought For The Day index page.