12th March

Gentle Aidan

My teaching will fall like gentle rain on tender grass. Deuteronomy 32: 2

Gentleness has soothing qualities such as politeness, kindness and courtesy; yet it is also a firestorm of indignation, kindled by the wrongs and sufferings of others. In no one does this quality shine forth more clearly than in Aidan.

Among the lessons that Aidan gave the clergy about their life-style, none was more salutary than his own example of fasting and self-discipline. His teaching won the hearts of everyone because he taught what he and his followers lived out. He neither sought nor cared for the possessions of this world, and he loved to give away to the poor the gifts he received from the rich.

In those days poor people would travel by foot, and the influential by horse. Aidan, however, insisted on travelling by foot in country as well as town, unless some urgent necessity forced him to do otherwise. So wherever he walked he was able to catch sight of people, rich or poor, and talk to them straight away. If they were not Christians he would invite them to accept the mystery of the Faith; if they already believed he would strengthen their faith and encourage them by his words and example in the practice of Christian giving and words of mercy.

I have described … his love of peace and charity, temperance and humility; his soul which triumphed over anger and greed, and at the same time despised pride and vainglory … and his tenderness in comforting the weak, in relieving and protecting the poor.

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow
May the soft winds freshen your spirit
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in love
An old Irish prayer