18th November

Bringing Out The Best In 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

When Columba paid a visit to the the important Clonmacnoise Monastery, in Ireland, he was surrounded by the many brothers who wanted to be near him. A boy whose negative attitudes and looks caused people to look down upon 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, 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 Ernene mac Craseni, who was to become famous throughout the churches of Ireland, and highly regarded.

Once the foster parents of Domnell mac Aedo brought the boy to Columba. Columba looked at him for a while and then gave this prophetic blessing: ‘This boy will outlive all his brothers and be a famous king. He will never be handed over to his enemies but will die at home in his bed, in peaceful old age, in the friendly presence of his household’. All this came true.

May Father, Son and Spirit replenish and renew you
So that an island shall you be in the sea
A hill shall you be on the land
A well shall you be in the desert
Health shall you be to the ailing.
Attributed to Columba