Saturday, March 13, 2010

On the occasion of the feast of St. Patrick

The first two years of Columba’s (Columcille in Gaelic) residence on Iona were spent learning the language, tilling the soil, training followers, and generally organizing the community. The days were filled with prayer, study, and manual labor, and in this last Columba, with his great spiritual and intellectual gifts, was always ready to share. In dairy, granary, or in the fields, each worshipped God in his appointed task, and made his toil a sacramental thing . . . The secret of the early Celts lay in this, that they linked sacrament with service, altar with hearth, worship with work.

For us too, it is important to discover the rhythm of praying as we work and through our work. Sometimes a simple manual task can even assist the praying heart in its focus. Even my own Lakota ancestors found sacredness in the simple, daily life and its stuff, its rhythm, along the Good Red Road of Christ.

At the end of his life, Columba had this one last prayer on his lips and heart:

Almighty Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Eternal, ever-blessed, gracious God,
To me, the least of saints, to me allow
That I may keep a door in Paradise;
The furthest door, the darkest, coldest door,
The door that is least used, the stiffest door,
If so it be but in Thine House, O God!
If so it be that I can see Thy Glory,
Even afar and hear Thy voice, O God!
And know that I am with Thee – Thee O God. [W. Muir, the Prayer of Columba]

Remembering my namesake St. Patrick, his “Breastplate”, and his disciple Columba, as the feast of St. Patrick approaches.

Go, be vulnerable and available as Christ’s ambassadors in the world. Do not lose your saltiness, nor hide your light, but abide in Him and you will be His salt and light to a broken and destitute world.

Only by Grace,


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