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St Aidan of Lindisfarne
Bishop (entered heaven in 651)
How’s the weather over there? I would tell you how it looks here, if I could see it. They haven’t let me out of this windowless office space for I don’t know how long. Ugh. I offer it up for your and all your cousins – maybe my little bit of suffering can make up for what my eloquence lacks.
You mentioned that the Catholic group you started last year has dwindled somewhat. Instead of decrying the spiritual laxity of your fellow students, I think you should rather look to yourself for the cause of stultification. Everyone needs Christ, and he satisfies every human heart. Therefore, if your activities are not attracting people, it may be because you are simply not presenting Christ and his marvelous doctrine in an effective way. The case reminds me of today’s saint.
Aidan was one of the great Irish monks who founded monasteries in Scotland (and everywhere else, eventually) after the epoch of St Patrick. At the time, a Christian (St Oswald) came to the throne of Northumbria (northern England), and asked the Irish monks to send someone to help his pagan people embrace the true faith. They sent a rather gruff fellow, thinking he would be tough enough to meet the challenge, but he failed miserably. When he got back to the monastery, he attributed his lack of success to the unruliness of the English people. Aidan piped up by saying that it was the monk’s fault, not the people’s; they needed the milk of mild doctrine, and he had tried to shove solid food down their throats. Everyone was impressed with Aidan’s prudence, so they nominated him to take up the mission. King Oswald gave him the bishopric of Lindisfarne, which became the center of Aidan’s activity and a longstanding source of holiness for all of northern England. Aidan traveled throughout the kingdom, always on foot, serving the poor, building churches, and speaking plainly and convincingly to the people about the wonders of Christ’s Kingdom. His preaching benefited from his many miracles, and soon the obstinate natives were won over to the sweet yoke of Jesus.
You must meet your classmates where they’re at, my dear niece, if you want to help them move closer to the Lord. Of course, doing that requires humility, of which you need a refill, if I may be blunt.