Monday, November 23, 2009

Memorial of St Columban

"Saint Columban (540-615) was born in Ireland sometime between the year 540 and 550. He became a monk at Bangor and was sent as a missionary to Gaul with twelve other monks in 585. He built his first monastery at Annegray in 590 followed by two more at Luxeuil and Fontaines. Soon his followers spread to France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The strict rule he imposed on these monasteries was observed in Gaul until the rule of Saint Benedict replaced it He so angered King Theodoric II of Burgundy over Columban's denunciation of the king's practice of keeping concubines that the king banished all Irish monks from his realm. Columban decided to flee the area and crossed the Alps to Italy and was welcomed in Milan by King Agilulf of the Lombards. He founded a monastery at Bobbio near Milan which became one of the great monasteries of its time as a center of culture, learning and spirituality. He died there in 615 leaving behind a collection of spiritual writings including his Monastic Rule, sermons, poetry and treatises against Arianism. Below is one of his spiritual instructions.


Brethren, let us follow that vocation by which we are called from life to the fountain of life. He is the fountain, not only of living water but of eternal life. He is the fountain of light and spiritual illumination; for from him come all these things: wisdom, life and eternal light. The author of life is the fountain of life; the creator of light is the fountain of spiritual illumination. Therefore, let us seek the fountain of light and life and the living water by despising what we see, by leaving the world and by dwelling in the highest heavens. Let us seek these things, and like rational and shrewd fish may we drink the living water which wells up to eternal life.

Merciful God, good Lord, I wish that you would unite me to that fountain, that there I may drink of the living spring of the water of life with those others who thirst after you. There in that heavenly region may I ever dwell, delighted with abundant sweetness, and say: "How sweet is the fountain of living water which never fails, the water welling up to eternal life."

O God, you are yourself that fountain ever and again to be desired, ever and again to be consumed. Lord Christ, always give us this water to be for us the source of the living water which wells up to eternal life. I ask you for your great benefits. Who does not know it? You, King of glory, know how to give great gifts, and you have promised them; there is nothing greater than you, and you bestowed yourself upon us; you gave yourself for us.

Therefore, we ask that we may know what we love, since we ask nothing other than that you give us yourself. For you are our all: our life, our light, our salvation, our food and our drink, our God. Inspire our hearts, I ask you, Jesus, with that breath of your Spirit; wound our souls with your love, so that the soul of each and every one of us may say in truth: Show me my soul's desire, for I am wounded by your love.

These are the wounds I wish for, Lord. Blessed is the soul so wounded by love. Such a soul seeks the fountain of eternal life and drinks from it, although it continues to thirst and its thirst grows ever greater even as it drinks. Therefore, the more the soul loves, the more it desires to love, and the greater its suffering, the greater its healing. In this same way may our God and Lord Jesus Christ, the good and saving physician, wound the depths of our souls with a healing wound - the same Jesus Christ who reigns in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen."

-- From the Liturgy of the Hours

This stained glass window of St Columban is in the Basilica of Bobbio. The photography is by Giorgio Zanetti.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sister: I haven't commented in awhile. I hope you are doing well, you continue to be remembered in my prayers each day. Thank you for your dedication, I have enjoyed reading your postings of the last few days! A Blessed Thanksgiving to you! John K.

ocd sister said...

Dear John K,
It's so good to hear from you again! I hope you're well. Thank you for your encouragement. Please pray for me.
Many blessings to you (and all readers, of course!) and may you enjoy the company of your loved ones.