8th February

Taming The Wild Beasts

Jesus said: “You will find an untamed colt. Untie it and bring it here. If someone asks you why you are untying it, tell him that the Master needs it.” Luke 19: 31.

Tame pigs and goats and baby pigs
at home all round it
And wild pigs also
tall deer and their does
badgers and their brood.

In peaceful parties
crowds from the country visit my home.
From a poem of Marban the hermit

Kevin’s desire for solitude was realised when he made his home in the cave near the two lakes of Glendalough. There he developed close relationships with even the wildest animals.

It was said that when he prayed for one hour every night in the cold waters a monster used to distract and annoy him by curling itself around his body, biting and stinging him. In another story we learn of a monster in the Lower Lake which brought terror to the people who lived there. Kevin did not banish this creature as an enemy; it was said he took it with him to the Upper Lake. There his prayers, his patience and the warmth of God’s love in him made the monster feel that there was nothing to be hostile about.

This story can also be understood as a picture of our inner life. We all have dark or wild monsters lurking within us, things we dare not face. Kevin teaches us to embrace the shadow side of our lives, without fear, so that there is nothing in our lives that we have not made peace with.

Lord, help me to understand my own story
To fear nothing except fear itself
And to live at peace
with myself, the creatures and the world