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Columba of Iona

Saint Columba, the towering figure of Celtic Christianity (also known as Columcille - "Dove of the Church")

was born Colum MacFhelin MacFergus about 521 in Donegal.

He decided, aged 19, to enter the 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.

On advice, Saint Columba took upon himself voluntary exile from his country and a vow to win over as many souls to Christ as had perished

through the disagreement, apparently some 3000!

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 immediately started on the foundations for his monastery.

This was to become the centre of Celtic mission,

and an example of monastic devotion.

He was concerned with building up both the monastery and its life,

and of enabling it to be the instrument of mission in a heathen land.

Saint Columba travelled across northern Scotland,

in the highlands and outer island, building churches and monasteries.

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 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.

Vitae Columbae: June 9th, 597….“This day in the Holy Scriptures

is called the Sabbath, which means “rest”. And this day is indeed a Sabbath

to me, for it is the last day of my present laborious life,

and on it I rest after the fatigues of my labours;

and this night at midnight, which commenceth the solemn Lord's Day,

I shall, according to the sayings of Scripture,

go the way of our fathers.

For already my Lord Jesus Christ deigneth to invite me;

and to Him, I say,

in the middle of this night shall I depart, at His invitation.

For so it hath been revealed to me by the Lord himself.”

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, your pilgrim people follow him, strong in faith, sustained by hope, and one in the love that binds us in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Gospel of Luke, chapter 10.

The Lord appointed seventy others

and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place

where he himself intended to go.

He said to them,

'The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few;

therefore ask the Lord of the harvest

to send out labourers into his harvest.

Go on your way.

See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.

Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road.

Whatever house you enter, first say,

“Peace to this house!”

And if anyone is there who shares in peace,

your peace will rest on that person;

but if not, it will return to you.

Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide,

for the labourer deserves to be paid.

Do not move about from house to house.

Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you,

eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there,

and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

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

The Lord is here,

All: his Spirit is with us.

We need not fear,

All: his Spirit is with us.

We are surrounded by love,

All: his Spirit is with us.

We are immersed in peace,

All: his Spirit is with us.

We rejoice in hope,

All: his Spirit is with us.

We travel in faith,

All: his Spirit is with us.

David Adam

Be at peace, and love each other. Follow the example of good people and God will comfort and help you, now and in the future.

Bright angels walk with me.

Dear presence, in every dealing…

May every path before me be smooth; man, woman and child welcome me.

Be Thou a bright flame before me. Be Thou a guiding star above me. Be Thou a smooth path beneath me. Be Thou a kindly shepherd behind me. Today and evermore.

The path I walk, Christ walks it. May the Land in which I am in be without sorrow. May the Trinity protect me wherever I stay; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Saint Columba, Apostle to Iona

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