We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4: 8, 9
Did Jesus’ mother Mary feel she had lost everything as she saw her son die on the Cross? Mary had become ‘willing to lose’ even to the utmost extremity.
Did Aidan feel he had lost everything as his dear friend in Christ Oswine, the King who opened the door to the Christian mission, was killed? Aidan died eleven days afterwards, and some think he died of a broken heart.
‘I’m broken’ confessed Columbanus, but God used him to the end.
Mungo’s great mission partners Cadoc, Asaph and Deiniol died. Then his royal Christian friends Aidan King of the Scots, and Rhyderch, King of Strathclyde, died under the shadow of failure. The Britons were routed and would never act as a united force again. Now, in 603, it was Mungo’s time to depart, also under the shadow of failure. What Mungo did not know was that his story had only just begun, and the greatest period of evangelisation of his people would soon be under way.
Never forget that before the brightest dawn comes the darkest night.
Never forget that our extremity is God’s opportunity.
I know perfectly well that poverty and misfortune suit me better than riches and pleasure. Christ the Lord, himself, was poor for our sakes.
God of heaven
do not leave me in the path where there is screaming
from the weight of oppression.
Great God, protect me
from the fiery wall,
the long trench of tears.
Dallan Mac Forgaill The Elegy of Colum Cille