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The Might of Virtue

The Might of Virtue

August/Peregrinatio

10 August 2010

Modesty and moderation, meekness and mildness adorned them all in equal measure. The evils of sloth and dissension were banished. Pride and haughtiness were expiated by severe punishments. Scorn and envy were driven out by faithful diligence. So great was the might of their patience, love and mildness that no one could doubt that the God of mercy dwelt among them.

- The Monk Jonas, Life of St. Columban (Irish, 7th century)

"Whom do you seek?" They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he."...When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground."

- John 18.5, 6

Rembrandt has some really wonderful etchings of this scene in the garden, where Jesus, radiant in glory, announces His name, and the crowds tumble and fall back at the might of His virtue.

Something like this was Columbanus' experience in Gaul, early in the 7th century. The monks with Columbanus learned virtue through a disciplined life in community during their time of study and service in Bangor. The pursuit of holiness was, if not quite second nature, nonetheless their daily preoccupation. They worked hard at it individually, and they helped one another along this road as of the highest priority.

As a result, they demonstrated Christian virtue such as the people of Gaul had never seen, though they'd been in church most of their lives. These were truly devout men, humble and meek, deferring to one another, and treating all people with sincerity and love. The might of their virtue opened the hearts of people to hear the power of their Gospel.

Both of these - virtue and proclamation - are seriously lacking in today's Church. Not only have we become complacent about the pursuit of holiness, we've traded in our calling to bear witness for a faith that doesn't make waves. No wonder the world is listening to us less and less.

But God can renew us, beginning with each one of us. Seek the Lord for renewal in virtue and boldness in witness. Plead with Him daily, and don't be surprised when you begin to find Him working mightily in your soul.

Exercise for this Month: You have been praying for the people in your Personal Mission Field. Now, make the effort to get to know some of them a little better. Reach out with a friendly word, and interested question, a helping hand. Lead with love as you continue praying.

Today in ReVision: Hip, Hip - Two cheers for unlikely subjects.

This Week's Download: Impact and Understanding of the Bible: A Questionnaire - Get it, get familiar with it, and begin to pray about using it with the people around you.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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