Today the church remembers Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, 651.Aidan provides us with a strong example that actions often speak louder than words and the best kind of Christian evangelism is that which proceeds from godly and charitable living. Trained at Iona, Scotland, Aidan was already revered as a compassionate and learned monk when King Oswald of Northumbria invited him to help with the evangelization of Northern England. Aidan joyfully responded and began the work by founding a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne. This monastery soon became a center for missionary and charitable activities throughout England and Scotland. The monks of Lindisfarne followed the old Celtic rites and practices, but Aidan had traveled widely on the continent and was able to familiarize them with the practices of the Roman Church, thus preparing his people for things to come. Aidan trained a whole generation of Christian leaders for the English church. Included among them were numerous bishops and saints. Perhaps the highest compliment paid to Aidan was that of the Venerable Bede (see May 25) who wrote that Aidan “taught no otherwise than he and his followers lived; for he neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing to the poor whatsoever was given him by the kings or rich men of the world.” May we take delight in doing your work, O Christ. Amen.
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O Loving God, you called your servant Aidan from the peace of a cloister to reestablish the Christian mission in northern England, and endowed him with gentleness, simplicity, and strength: Grant that we, following his example, may use what you have given us for the relief of human need, and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel of our Redeemer Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.