The King’s Hand

April 2, 2015

St. Oswald of NorthumbriaSt. Oswald, King of Northumbria, was one day at table with the holy Bishop Adrian. It was the great festival of Easter.

During dinner a servant came and said to the King: “My lord, a multitude of poor people have just come to the gates, and are asking an alms. What am I to do with them?”

The King, taking up a massive silver plate that was on the table before him, placed upon it as much food as it could contain, and gave it to the servant, saying: “Go to these poor people, and distribute among them this food in my name; then break the plate to pieces, and give a part of it to each of them.”

St Aidan kissing the hand of St Oswald Painting by Ford Madox Brown, 1864.

St Aidan kissing the hand of St Oswald Painting by Ford Madox Brown, 1864.

When the servant had gone out to execute the order, the Bishop took the King by the hand and said : ” O King, may this hand ever remain incorrupt.”

Not long afterwards Oswald was slain in battle and his body was buried with honor. Long afterwards, when the coffin was opened, it was found that the body had all decayed except the right hand, which remained incorrupt according to the prayer of the Bishop, because it had been the instrument of so much charity.

 

The Catechism In Examples Vol. III By the Rev. D. Chisholm Pg. 96-97.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 468

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