The Venerable Bede, who wrote a life of Cuthbert (635-687), tells us that in his youth, while tending sheep one night, and praying, “as was his wont,” he saw a stream of light break through the darkness, and in its midst, “a company of the heavenly host descended to the earth, and having received among them a spirit of surpassing brightness, returned without delay to their heavenly home.” Learning the next day that Aidan of Lindisfarne had died at that very time, Cuthbert “determined forthwith to enter a monastery.”
Trained in the austere traditions of Celtic monasticism, Cuthbert was Prior of Melrose Abbey for thirteen years, and then of Lindisfarne for twelve years. He made visitations to remote villages, preaching and teaching. Bede said, “Above all, he was afire with heavenly love, unassumingly patient, devoted to unceasing prayer, and kindly to all who came to him for comfort. He regarded as equivalent to prayer the labour of helping the weaker brethern with advice, remembering that he who said ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God’, also said, ‘Love thy neighbour’.”
Cuthbert was made Bishop of Lindisfarne. He accepted the decisions of the synod of Whitby in 663 that brought the usages of the English Church in line with Roman practice. He was thus a “healer of the breach” that threatened to divide the church into Celtic and Roman factions.
Our Father in heaven,
We thank You for the life and ministry of Cuthbert. We lift up in prayer Justin Portal Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury-designate. May he too be afire with heavenly love, unassumingly patient, devoted to unceasing prayer, and kindly to all who came to him for comfort. We pray that he would seek the healing of the breach within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion by the cross of Jesus. Amen.
Hat tip: SF