And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
- Acts 6.7
Modesty and moderation, meekness and mildness adorned them all in equal measure. The evils of sloth and dissension were banned. 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.
- Jonas, Life of St. Columban, Italian, 7th century
Here, in Acts 6, was a church ready to break apart across any number of fissures – economic, racial, traditional. Yet, guided by wise and patient shepherds, they managed to resolve their differences with such harmony and love, that the people of Jerusalem could only marvel and long to be a part of their community of faith.
Remember: that great company of priests had heard Jesus, heard the apostles, listened to their former synagogue members explain why they were leaving; but only when they saw the lived reality of thousands of disparate individuals working together to care for one another in love, only then did the reality of the faith break through their hardened souls.
The same was true of Columbanus and his band of disciples. Wherever they went their resolute morality, earnest spirituality, fervent preaching, and determined way of caring for and edifying one another made a powerful impression on lapsed believers and pagans alike.
The power of holiness, love, and fervent mission that people saw in Columbanus and his band made the message they proclaimed a real and viable alternative to the ho-hum existence so many knew. Why should it not be so in our own day?
Jesus called us first to “be” witnesses before we go out in His Name to “do” witness-bearing (Acts 1.8). The harder we work at holiness, love, and mutual edification, the more powerful will be the message we proclaim.
People are looking for real-live examples of a lifestyle that really matters. Shall we show it to them?
Psalm 24.3, 4 (Foundation: “How Firm a Foundation”)
O who may ascend to the Lord’s holy place?
And who may appear to His glorious face?
All they who are clean in their heart and their hands
And true in their souls with the Savior shall stand.
Use me today, O Lord, as an example of Your grace and truth to others. Let modesty and moderation, meekness and mildness, and all the other virtues of Jesus shine through my life today.
T. M. Moore, Principal