20th April

Pride Before A Fall

‘Master’, Simon answered, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught no fish. Nevertheless, if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ Simon let them down and caught such a large number of fish that the nets were about to break. Luke 5: 5, 6

Simon Peter knew more about fishing than did Jesus, who had a background in carpentry. He knew where the fish were, and he knew that night was the right time to catch them. So it must have seemed daft when Jesus told him that if he pushed the boat out in the morning he would make a catch. But Simon was learning that Jesus was a channel of a wisdom higher than his own know-how. Each of us has to learn this lesson in our own way. This is how St. Gall learned it:

Gall is the best known of Columbanus’ followers, and accompanied him to Annegray and Luxeuil where they founded some of the first Celtic Christian communities on the continent of Europe. Gall was very bright, but he was also hot-headed, and needed to learn lessons of humility.

One day at Luxeuil Columbanus, who was the Abbot, asked Gall, who was a keen fisherman, to go to a particular river to catch fish. Gall took this as an opportunity to show his independence and his better knowledge of fishing; he went to a different river where he knew there were more fish.

It was true the fish were plentiful, for he could see them swimming all around his net. But for some reason, though he tried all day, not a single one would swim into the net! Rather sheepishly Gall returned to Columbanus. All Columbanus said, in a mild manner, was ‘Why not try doing what I told you?’

Next day Gall swallowed his pride and followed Columbanus’ instruction. Sure enough, the moment he threw his net into the river the fish came in so fast that he could hardly pull them out. Gall got the point that although he was more clever than others, he was also more conceited, and that pride comes before a fall.

Lord take pride and false independence from my spirit.