22nd April

Mutual Dependence

When you please the Lord you can make your enemies into friends. Proverbs 16: 7

Gall learned the hard way that he needed other people. When a hostile ruler came to power the monks had to leave the region. But Gall became too ill to travel with Columbanus, who left him behind, believing that his illness was in some way connected with a weakness in his character. After the others had left, Gall managed to get his fishing nets and his few possessions on to a boat and get himself to a priest who nursed him back to health.

It seems that Gall now realised he had made so many mistakes, in the way he related both to brothers and to local people. He had destroyed their objects of worship before he had made friends with them. Now he thought that the best thing he could was to serve God alone in a life of prayer, and prepare for heaven.

Gall asked the priest to recommend a place where he could live as a hermit. The priest replied that the mountains and valleys were too full of wild beasts for this to be viable. ‘If God be for us, who shall be against us?’, Gall replied.

So they came to a place by a river where Gall settled, and the wild beasts became his friends. Other hermits joined him, for had now learned to be humble, to be like like the humus, the earth. Columbanus may have sensed this, and wanted to heal of the divide that had come between them, for before he died he sent Gall his Abbot’s staff as a sign that the past was over and that he believed in Gall’s God-given calling.

Gall was in fact pressed to become Abbot of the monastery at Luxeuil, but he had now no worldly ambitions, and refused. However, the world flocked to his cell. The monastery which took the place of his hermits’ settlement became a centre of life and learning for Europe. The town which grew up around, St. Gallen, is now one of the great industrial cities of Switzerland.

Humble me Lord.
May I be sensitive to other people whatever their background.
May I be led, not by my self-opinionated will, but by you alone.
And may this result in friendships.