Thought for the Week Sunday June 13th 2021

Draw the best out of others

Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. (Ephesians 4:29 G.N.B.)

When the Irish missionary Columba paid a visit to the important Clonmacnoise Monastry in Ireland, he was surrounded by many brothers who wanted to hear him. A boy whose negative attitudes and looks caused people to look down on him, crept in behind Columba. He had heard read from the bible how a miracle occurred in a woman in a crowd who was able to touch just the edge of Jesus’ cloak and she was healed (Matthew 9: 20-22). So his idea was to touch the edge of Columba’s cloak without being noticed. Columba like Jesus, sensed in his spirit that someone was there, turned round and taking the boy by the neck brought him forward.

Some of the brothers tried to shoo the boy away. Columba hushed them ‘open your mouth and put out your tongue’ he asked the boy. Columba reached forward and blessed the boy’s tongue. He told the brothers ‘do not let this boy’s present disposition make you despise him, from now on he will cease to displease you. Indeed he will please you greatly and grow little by little, day by day in goodness and greatness of spirit wisdom and discernment will increase in him and he will become an outstanding figure in your community. God will give him eloquence to teach the way of salvation.’ This boy was to become famous throughout the churches of Ireland and was highly regarded by them, his name was Ernene mac Craseni.

What a wonderful story this is of Columba’s healing of the boy. It, the healing, was going to take some time (little by little, day by day in goodness and greatness of spirit) and the boy was to become an outstanding figure in the community. Interesting that some of the brothers tried to shoo the boy away. They likely thought the boy was not worth healing but he was and Columba saw this and he blessed the boy’s tongue. The boy also knew he needed healing. It was going to take a long time but the healing was needed and accepted and what a healing.

Jesus said. ‘…learn from me because I am gentle and humble in spirit…’ (Matthew 11:29 G.N.B.) When Paul listed gentleness as one of the nine fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:23) he used the Greek word praotes. This word overflows with meanings and it is far removed from some current images of gentleness as unreasonable sweetness, powerless passivity or timidity. Plato considered gentleness to be the ‘cement of society’

Aristotle defined it as the mean between too angry and never becoming angry at all. The gentle person expresses anger for the right reason and duration and in the right way. It is the characteristic needed when exercising discipline (Galatians 6:1) facing opposition (2 Timothy 2:25) and opening ourselves to hearing God’s word without pride (James 1:21)

This is the most important part of the rule Love Christ, hate wealth.

Devotion to the King of the sun and kindness to people.

If anyone enters the path of repentance it is sufficient to advance step by step. Do not wish to be like the charioteer (Rule of Saint Gall)



 Breath on us, fill us with life anew.

In your new creation, already upon us,

Already breaking through, groaning.

And travailing, but already breaking through, breath on us.

Till that day when night and autumn vanish

And lambs grown to sheep are no more slaughtered

And even the thorn shall fade and the whole

Earth shall cry, glory at the marriage feast of the lamb.

In this new creation, already upon us, fill us with life anew.

                                                           George MacLeod