12th August

Win All People By All Means

The people tried to prevent Jesus from leaving, but he said to them: I must preach the Good News about the Kingdom of God in other towns also because this is what God sent me to do’. Luke 4: 42, 43

David’s ministry in Wales started with a splash. The priest who baptised him was assisted by a blind man named Movi who immersed David under the water. Some of this water splashed over Movi’s eyes and he regained his sight. It seems that God gave David a healing touch with eyes, as the following story of Paulinus illustrates.

David was ordained and trained under Paulinus, who had a reputation as ‘a fosterer of righteousness’, somewhere in Carmarthenshire. During those years Paulinus’ eyesight deteriorated badly, and one day he invited each of his pupils to come up in turn and pray for his eyes, making the sign of the cross over them. The young David, who was shy, and who had had no eye contact with his esteemed mentor, held back, but Paulinus said to him: Touch my eyes, and, even without you looking at me, I shall be healed’. His sight did indeed return, and David’s stature increased.

After several years there Paulinus felt God saying: ‘Dewi’ (the Welsh name for David) ‘has used the talents I have given him as fully as he can while he is here. Now I want to send him out so that he can use different approaches to win as many people as possible, from different walks of life, to my way. He must be free to give strong food to strong people, and milk to weak people’. Paulinus commissioned David to go out and ‘win bundles of souls’.

David did just that, he gathered a mission team and established monastic centres in twelve key places, some as far from Wales as Glastonbury, Bath, and Crowland. He also helped families and people in ordinary jobs to lead a Christian life. It was said that the Mission Team gave four rules to the people: 1. pray; 2. watch; 3. work; 4. abstain from strong drink. David and his team became ‘all things to all people’.

Great God, who called your servant David
to be an apostle and father in God to the people of Wales
grant that, inspired by the fire of his faith
and the flexibility of his approach
we too may see divine fruit in our land