So greatly did the man of God abound in faith, that whomsoever he consecrated, the last day found persevering in good works. And those whom he warned, rejoiced afterward that they had merited immunity. Nor did he, endued with so great strength, undeservedly obtain an increase of grace, who guided by his learning, was unwilling to deviate from the path of a just life.
- Jonas, Life of St. Columban
What is the best thing in the world? To please its Creator. What is His will? To fulfill what He commanded, that is, to live rightly and dutifully to seek the Eternal; for duty and justice are the will of Him Who is dutiful and right. How do we seek this goal? By application. Then we must apply ourselves in duty and justice. What helps to maintain this practice? Understanding, which, while it winnows the remainder and finds nothing solid to rest in amongst those things which the world possesses, turns in wisdom to the one thing which is eternal.
- Columbanus, Sermon III
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”
- John 15.16
Columbanus and his company stayed only a short time in Neustria before beginning the trek that would take them across the Alps into Italy. Jonas records many impressive works done by Columbanus along the way. We glimpse the saint’s renown as he progressed from Neustria into Burgundy, especially in the incident of a wealthy couple who offered him hospitality and asked the favor of his baptizing their sons.
Jonas relates that Columbanus happily concurred, as these were people of true faith. He then uses this situation to demonstrate the power of Columbanus’ faith. The two boys grew up to serve faithfully in the royal court of Chlotar before each, sensing a call from the Lord, went off to found a monastery based on the order of Columbanus.
These were but two of many who were so affected by the teaching and example of the Irish monk. We cannot know how many thousands of men devoted themselves to Christ, nor how many dozens or scores or perhaps hundreds of churches, monasteries, and other foundations sprang up under the leadership of those who were touched by Columbanus’ ministry. We can be sure, however, that they were many.
Columbanus bore much fruit for the Lord, in the form of faithful followers and entire institutions devoted to seeking the Kingdom and righteousness of God. But he would have said he was only doing his duty. And indeed, Columbanus applied himself faithfully and well to whatever would contribute to fulfilling his just and holy calling from the Lord. He understood that the Lord had chosen him to bear abiding fruit, and he did not allow himself to become occupied with anything but what would enable him to please his Creator at all times.
Why has Jesus chosen you? Why did He die and rise again for you? What is He seeking from you as He rules even now at the Father’s right hand? And what will He expect from you upon His return, that He might bestow His “Well done, good and faithful servant” on you with joy?
Jesus chose you and me and appointed us to our own Personal Mission Fields that we might go and bear fruit, and that our fruit should remain. But what fruit? The fruit of righteousness and spiritual vitality, of course. But also the fruit of grace and truth, the evidence of lively faith and bold witness in those to whom God sends us, who grow and are built-up in the Lord and their own calling because of our conscious efforts to encourage and assist them in their walk with and work for the Lord.
Being a fruitful Christian does not come without determined effort. There is much to learn; we must work at developing fruit-bearing skills; we need to make the most of all our time; and we must pray without ceasing, asking the Father to grant us, in Jesus’ Name, what Jesus has appointed for us.
Bearing much fruit should be high on every Christian’s list of things to do each day. God will give us increasing grace to bear such fruit if we will seek it from Him, invest our strength in bearing it, divest ourselves of any activities or interests that detract from a fruitful walk, and work our Personal Mission Fields daily as agents of the grace and truth of our God.
We are on a journey, not to cross the Alps into Italy, but to cross from time to eternity and the glorious presence and unceasing joy of our Lord. Along the way, we have seed to sow, seedlings to nurture and protect, and fruit to bear. We must “apply ourselves” dutifully to this just and holy calling, trusting the Lord to fulfill in and through us that for which He has chosen, saved, and appointed us.
Psalm 121 (Duke Street: Jesus Shall Reign)
I lift up my eyes up to the heights: Whence comes my help by day, by night?
My help comes from the Lord above! He made creation by His love!
God will not let our footsteps fall; He will preserve us all in all.
He does not slumber, does not sleep; God will His chosen people keep.
You are our Keeper and our Shade; You have our debt of sin repaid!
You will preserve us by Your might; naught shall afflict us day or night.
Lord, You will guard our lives from ill; You will our trembling souls keep still.
All our endeavors You will guard; eternal praise be Yours, O Lord!
Be my help this day, O Lord, that I might bear much fruit by…
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- T.M. Moore
- January 8, 2019
Jesus is seeking from you only what He has appointed to you.
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 Essex Junction, VT.