In commemoration of the great Saint that brought 12 Culdee Irish Priests to Europe, and converted the Continent, let us remember him as we do our standard evening prayers.
The Celtic prayer of Saint Columbanus used in the standard (Episcopal) Evening Service:
A prayer for light
Grant us, Lord, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in us and shed its light on those around us, and that by its brightness we may have a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, American 1979)
A Message on this Saint, who victoriously (as also his predecessors and successors had done for generations) repudiated Rome’s new Calendar.
This Saint was born in Ireland about 559. He was one of those many Irishmen who, in the centuries following the conversion of their country, spread themselves over Europe with a flaming zeal for the salvation of the pagans.
Columbanus was a great scholar, and a man of powerful personality. Kings and popes were brought into subjection to his wisdom, and his monastery at Luxeuil in France was in its time one of the greatest centers of learning and sanctity in the Christian world. He had so great a number of monks under his rule that he was able to organize the ancient Laus perennis, the perpetual praise of God, which went on with relays of monks, their voices ‘unwearied as those of angels’ so that there was no moment of the night or day when a devout group was not singing His praises in the great choir of the monastery church.
He was an impetuous defender of the Faith and champion of morals, and a man of his sanctity and vigor could not fail to make many enemies among the rough nobles and princes of his time. Like another St. John Baptist, he did not hesitate to rebuke wickedness in the highest places. After his many years’ service at Luxeuil, he had to flee for his life.
Going into Italy he threw himself into the struggles of the Church there against the heresies which distracted her at that time. He finally settled at Bobbio among the Apennines, where he founded a monastery. His fame soon brought him many disciples, and he ruled there with his wonted holiness until November 21st, 615, when, surrounded by his brethren, and strong in his confidence in God, he went to his reward.
Athletes of God, Lives of the Saints for every Day in the Year by Shirley C. Hughson, O.H.C., (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge: London, 1950).