Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is August 31st, 2008: the feast of Blessed Aidan.
All Anglicans know that the center of Christian life in England is Canterbury. That’s where Augustine settled when he came as a missionary. But in northern England, they know that the center of the Christian revival in the 7th century was the island of Lindisfarne. This is due to the influence of the man we remember today, Blessed Aidan.
You see, when the Christian King Edwin of Northumbria was killed in the year 632, one result was a resurgence of pagan practice. His heir, his nephew Oswald, was thrown into exile. He lived with the monks at the monastery of Iona. So, when he returned from exile, retook the kingdom, and wanted to restore Christianity, he sent for missionaries to Iona, and not to Canterbury. The man who responded was the gentle, but strong, Aidan. He based his mission on the island of Lindisfarne.
In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel! What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:16-23) Aidan lived this out. The Venerable Bede wrote of him: “He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men of the world. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever in his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works.”
Aidan was a wonderful example of the call to the holy life, lived not with pride, but with joy. May we all be strengthened by his example.
Let us pray: O loving God, you called your servant Aidan from the peace of a cloister to re-establish the Christian mission in northern England, and endowed him with gentleness, simplicity, and strength; Grant that we, following his example, may use what you have given us for the relief of human need, and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel of our Redeemer Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us tomorrow at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of Blessed David Pendleton Oakerhater. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.
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