COLUMBA APOSTLE TO THE NORTH
I weave a silence into my mind.
I weave a silence onto my lips.
I weave a silence within my heart.
I close my ears to distractions.
I close my eyes to attractions.
I close my heart to temptations.
Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm.
Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, my Lord, within your peace. David Adam
Saint Columba, the towering figure of Celtic Christianity (also known as Columcille - "Dove of the Church").
He was born Colum MacFhelin MacFergus about 521 in Donegal. He decided at age 19 to enter the famous school of Saint Finnian at Moville where he was ordained into the diaconate. Aged 25 he began founding monasteries in Derry and Kells, and was said to have founded as many as 300 religious houses in Ireland.
King Diarmaid and the clan to which Columba belonged were locked in violent disagreement - it is thought to have been initiated by the saint himself, and up to 3000 perished.
Saint Columba took upon himself voluntary exile from his country
and a vow to win over as many souls to Christ as had perished. In 563, he sailed away with 12 members of his clan, in a wicker coracle covered with leather, landing on Iona, a tiny island of the Inner Hebrides.
The island was given to him by King Conall, his relative, and he began the foundations for his monastery, which was to become the centre of Celtic mission, and an example of monastic devotion.
From there he evangelised both the Scots and the Northern Picts.
Saint Columba travelled across northern Scotland, building up the faith in the highlands and outer islands
and building churches and monasteries, but he did not lose touch with Ireland. Several times he returned on diplomatic errands.
Columba seems to have been an austere and, at times, harsh man who reputedly mellowed with age.
Though noted for his asceticism
(he slept on a stone pillow which later became his headstone), he was also known for his joyous love of life.
He was concerned with building up both the monastery
and its life and of enabling them to be instruments of mission in a heathen land.
He suffered a long illness, and died on June 9th in the year 597,
the year that Augustine brought back the faith to the South of England..
Almighty God, who filled the heart of Columba with the joy of the Holy Spirit and with deep love for those in his care: may we, thy pilgrim people follow him, strong in faith, sustained by hope, and one in the love that binds us to thee; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all
training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions,
and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled,
upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope
and the manifestation of the glory
of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity
and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Letter to Titus
Be thou my vision,
O Lord of my heart
Be all else but naught to me,
save that thou art. Be thou my best thought
in the day and the night; Both waking and sleeping,
thy presence my light.
High King of heaven,
thou heaven's bright sun, O grant me its joys
after victory is won; great Heart of my own heart,
whatever befall, still be thou my vision,
O Ruler of all.
High King of Heaven, Almighty Father of us all,
grant that in all humility we may be your hands
and your voices here on earth,
working to build up the community of faith
in the name of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. .
May the wisdom of God instruct you;
the eye of God watch over you;
the ear of God hear you;
the word of God
give sweetness to your speech;
the hand of God defend you;
and may you and I
follow the way of God
this and every day.
SAINT COLUMBA'S BLESSING
Be the Lord a bright flame before me, Be the Lord a guiding star above me, Be the Lord a smooth path below me, Be the Lord a kindly shepherd behind me, today, tonight and forever.