Today the Church remembers the life and ministry of a monk who became a missionary. St. Aidan.
In the years prior to Aidan's mission, Christianity, which had been propagated throughout Britain by the Roman Empire, was being largely displaced by Anglo-Saxon paganism. In the monastery of Iona (founded by Columba), Christianity found one of its principal exponents in Oswald of Northumbria, a noble youth who had been raised there as a king in exile since 616. Baptized as a Christian, the young king vowed to bring Christianity back to his people, and when he gained the crown of Northumbria in 634, he made good on his promise.
King Oswald requested that missionaries be sent from the monastery at Iona. They first sent Cormán, but he alienated many people by his harshness, and returned to Iona reporting that the Northumbrians were too stubborn to be converted. Aidan criticized Cormán's methods, and as his reward, Aidan was sent as his replacement in 635.
Aidan chose the island of Lindisfarne, which was close to the royal castle at Bamburgh, as the seat of his diocese. Aidan walked from village to village talking to people following the early apostolic model of conversion, by offering "them first the milk of gentle doctrine, to bring them by degrees, while nourishing them with the Divine Word, to the true understanding and practice of the more advanced precepts."
Aidan was responsible for the construction of churches, monasteries and schools throughout Northumbria. At the same time, he earned a tremendous reputation for his pious charity and dedication to the less fortunate; he provided room, board and education to orphans, and he used contributions to pay for the freedom of slaves.
Let us pray: Everliving God, you called your servant Aidan to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and gave him a loving heart and a gentle spirit: Grant us grace to live as he did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Friday, from 11 to 4 at the Galveston Islamic Center, “In the Name of God” Blood Drive, 921 Broadway, Galveston Texas 77550. Co-sponsoring the event is the Galveston Islamic Center, Congregation B’nai Israel, and St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church. The donated blood will be for patients at Galveston’s UTMB and Shriners Children’s Hospitals.
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially all those who are grieving.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550