St. Aidan

Saint Aidan (d.651) A Man of Great Gentleness

We would probably know nothing about Saint Aidan had it not been for his gentleness. His story begins with the failure of a fellow monk. Corman had been asked to lead a mission to Northumbria and teach the newly crowned King Oswald's people about Jesus. Corman however, found the challenge much too great and he returned to the community on Iona saying: "Those Northumbrians are too stubborn, too pig headed to ever learn anything."

"My dear Corman, could you not have tried being gentle with them?" Aidan asked. The brothers were surprised by Aidan's question, but realised that he may well have the answer and so, even though he had never lead a mission before, he was chosen to head-up a second mission team.

Aidan proved an excellent choice. Throughout his ministry he walked everywhere so that he could meet with the everyday people. Those he met, he would ask about their walk with God: if they said that they were Christians, he would encourage them in their Faith, if they said that they weren't sure, he would tell them all about Jesus. Aidan spent many hours in prayer, calling out to God for the king and the people entrusted to his care.

On one occasion, Aidan was about to enjoy an Easter Feast with King Oswald when a group of starving peasants arrived at the King's door. Without hesitation, King Oswald told his servants to give the meal to his people, along with the silver plates as the precious metal could be sold and the money help them after a severe winter. Aidan was delighted and blessed his close friend and, taking hold of his right hand said: "May this hand never perish."

Aidan always sought to bring out the best in others and much of the money that was given to him, he would use to buy slaves whom he would then set free. Many of those who were set free chose to join Aidan's community on Lindisfarne where they trained as missionary-monks, learning about Jesus so that they could share the Christian Faith with others.

Aidan's gentle approach paid great dividends and enabled him to found a Community which would not only transform the north of England, but would also provide a base from which monks would travel as far as Mercia, Kent and Essex where they spoke boldly about Jesus and helped share the Christian Faith.

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