jeudi 20 mars 2014

Saint CUTHBERT de LINDISFARNE, évêque et confesseur


Saint Cuthbert , évêque

Né vers 634, il est élevé en Écosse, il travaille d’abord comme berger. A 15 ans, il décide après une expérience spirituelle, de devenir moine. Il est reçu à l’abbaye de Melrose, dont le prieur, Saint-Boisil, lui enseigne les Écritures et les principes de la vie religieuse. Quelques années plus tard, il accompagne l'abbé Eata au nouveau monastère de Ripon, où il exerce la charge d'hôtelier. Il retourne ensuite à Melrose, où il est élu abbé en remplacement de Boisil, décédé de la peste en 664. Un conflit s'étant produit à Lindisfarne, monastère frère de Melrose, il se rend sur place, parvient à ramener la paix et y demeure plus de douze ans comme abbé, où il introduit la liturgie romaine. Il se retire ensuite sur l’île de Farne et s'installe dans une caverne. Huit ans plus tard, tous les notables de la région lui rendent visite et le supplient d'accepter la dignité épiscopale. Il refuse tout d'abord, mais finit par accepter, et c'est à York qu'il est finalement consacré comme évêque de Lindisfarne, en 685. Moins de deux ans plus tard, cependant, il tombe malade et abandonne son siège pour passer les deux derniers mois de sa vie dans son île de Farne où il meurt le 20 mars 687.



Ernest Ange Duez, Saint Cuthbert, 1879,
huile sur toile, partie centrale du triptyque. 334 X 134, Paris, Musée d’Orsay

Saint Cuthbert

Évêque de Lindisfarne ( 687)

Confesseur.

Cuthbert fut d'abord évêque de Lindisfarne en Angleterre. Il établit le rite de la liturgie romaine dans son diocèse. Il préféra reprendre la vie monastique au monastère de Melrose, de tradition irlandaise, et s'en fut solitaire dans la paix de Dieu. 



Et c'est là que saint Herbert, son meilleur ami, venait le rejoindre chaque année pendant plusieurs jours pour parler des choses de Dieu. Ils connurent la grâce de mourir à quelques jours l'un de l'autre et à la même heure.



Dans l’île de Farne en Northumbrie d’Angleterre, l’an 687, le trépas de saint Cuthbert, évêque de Lindisfarne. Il montra dans son ministère pastoral le même empressement qu’auparavant au monastère et en ermitage. Il sut harmoniser pacifiquement les austérités et la manière de vivre des Celtes avec les coutumes romaines, et termina sa vie dans son ermitage insulaire.

Martyrologe romain



Saint-Cuthbert, thaumaturge de Grande-Bretagne, est né en Northumbrie autour de 634. Lors qu’il était encore jeune, gardant les moutons de son maître, il eut une vision d'anges emmenant l'âme de saint Aidan au Ciel dans une sphère de feu. Quelques jours plus tard, il apprit que l'évêque Aidan de Lindisfarne avait reposé à l'heure même où Cuthbert avait vu sa vision.

Adulte, saint Cuthbert décida de quitter le monde et d'embrasser la vie monastique. Il entra au monastère de Melrose, où il se consacra au service de Dieu. Son jeûne et ses veilles étaient si extraordinaires que les autres moines l’admiraient. Il passait souvent des nuits entières en prière, et ne mangeant rien pendant des jours et des jours. Saint Cuthbert fut ensuite choisi pour être higoumène de Melrose, guidant les frères par ses paroles et par son exemple. Il fit des voyages dans toute la région environnante pour encourager les chrétiens et prêcher l'Évangile à ceux qui n’en avaient jamais entendu parler. Il accomplit également beaucoup de miracles, guérissant les malades et libérant ceux qui étaient possédés par des démons.

En 664, Cuthbert étant nommé prieur, il partit à Lindisfarne.. Pendant son séjour à Lindisfarne, saint Cuthbert continua comme à son habitude de visiter les gens du commun afin de les inciter à chercher le Royaume des Cieux. Bien que certains des moines préféraient leur style de vie négligent à la voie ascétique, par sa patience et sa douce persuasion, saint Cuthbert les amena progressivement à l'obéissance et à un meilleur état d'esprit. Le saint n'hésita pas à corriger ceux qui se comportaient mal. Toutefois, sa gentillesse lui faisait rapidement pardonner à ceux qui se repentaient. Quand les gens se confessaient à lui, il pleurait souvent en sympathie avec leur faiblesse et souvent lui-même accomplissait leurs épitimies.

Saint Cuthbert fut un vrai père pour ses moines, mais son âme aspirait à une solitude complète, alors il alla vivre sur une petite île ( à présent île Saint Cuthbert), à une courte distance de Lindisfarne. Après avoir obtenu la victoire sur les démons par la prière et le jeûne, le saint décida d'aller encore plus loin de ses semblables. En 676, il se retira à Inner Farne, un lieu encore plus éloigné. Saint Cuthbert y construisit une petite cellule qui ne pouvait être vue depuis le continent. A quelques mètres, il construisit une maison d'hôtes pour les visiteurs de Lindisfarne. Il resta là pendant près de neuf ans.

Un synode à Twyford, avec le saint archevêque Théodore comme président, élit Cuthbert évêque de Hexham en 684. l’évêque Cuthbert resta humble comme il l’avait été avant sa consécration, en évitant les parures et il porta des vêtements simples. Il remplit ses fonctions avec dignité et grâce, tout en continuant à vivre comme un moine. Cependant Il servit comme évêque pendant deux ans seulement. Sentant que le moment de sa mort approchait, saint Cuthbert renonça à ses fonctions archipastorales, se retirant en solitude pour se préparer.

Conseillant ses frères immédiatement avant sa mort, saint Cuthbert parla de la paix et de l'harmonie, leur enjoignant de se tenir en garde contre ceux qui encourageaient l’orgueil et la discorde. Bien qu'il les ait encouragés à accueillir les visiteurs et à leur offrir l'hospitalité, il leur recommanda également de ne pas avoir de relations avec les hérétiques ou avec ceux qui menaient une mauvaise vie. Il leur dit d'apprendre les enseignements des Pères et de les mettre en pratique, et d’adhérer à la règle monastique qu’il leur avait apprise. Après avoir reçu des Saints Mystères du Christ, saint Cuthbert remit son âme sainte à Dieu le 20 Mars 687.

Onze ans plus tard, le tombeau de saint Cuthbert fut ouvert et ses reliques furent trouvées non corrompues. Dans les siècles subséquents, les reliques furent déplacées à plusieurs reprises en raison de la menace d'une invasion. Elles furent finalement portées en lieu sûr, à Durham. Les reliques du saint furent ouvertes à nouveau le 24 août 1104, et les reliques incorruptibles et fragrantes furent placées dans la cathédrale, récemment achevée.

En 1537, trois commissaires du roi Henry VIII vinrent piller la tombe et profaner les reliques. Le corps de saint Cuthbert était encore intact, et il fut inhumé plus tard. La tombe fut ouverte à nouveau en 1827. Dans le cercueil intérieur il y avait un squelette enveloppé dans un linceul et cinq tuniques. Dans les vêtements, une Croix d'or et de grenat fut trouvée, c’était probablement la Croix pectorale de saint Cuthbert. On trouva également un peigne en ivoire, un autel portatif de bois et d'argent, un épitrachelion, des morceaux d'un cercueil en bois sculpté, et d'autres articles. Ceux-ci peuvent être vus à ce jour dans le trésor de la cathédrale de Durham.

Saint Cuthbert est fêté le 20Mars.

Version française Claude Lopez-Ginisty
d'après



Saint Cuthbert

St. Cuthbert (634 -687) was thought by some to be Irish and by others, a Scot. Bede, the noted historian, says he was a Briton. Orphaned when a young child, he was a shepherd for a time, possibly fought against the Mercians, and became a monk at Melrose Abbey.

In 661, he accompanied St. Eata to Ripon Abbey, which the abbot of Melrose had built, but returned to Melrose the following year when King Alcfrid turned the abbey over to St. Wilfrid, and then became Prior of Melrose. Cuthbert engaged in missionary work and when St. Colman refused to accept the decision of the Council of Whitby in favor of the Roman liturgical practices and immigrated with most of the monks of Lindisfarn to Ireland, St. Eata was appointed bishop in his place and named Cuthbert Prior of Lindisfarn.

He resumed his missionary activities and attracted huge crowds until he received his abbot’s permission to live as a hermit, at first on a nearby island and then in 676, at one of the Farnes Islands near Bamborough. Against his will, he was elected bishop of Hexham in 685, arranged with St. Eata to swap Sees, and became bishop of  Lindisfarn but without the monastery. He spent the last two years of his life administering his See, caring for the sick of the plague that dessimated his diocese, working numerous miracles of healing, and gifted with the ability to prophesy. He died at Lindisfarn. Feast day is March 20.



St. Cuthbert

Bishop of Lindisfarne, patron of Durham, born about 635; died 20 March, 687. His emblem is the head of St. Oswald, king and martyr, which he is represented as bearing in his hands. His feast is kept in Great Britain and Ireland on the 20th of March, and he is patron of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, where his commemoration is inserted among the Suffrages of the Saints. His early biographers give no particulars of his birth, and the accounts in the "Libellus de ortu", which represent him as the son of an Irish king named Muriahdach, though recently supported by Cardinal Moran and Archbishop Healy, are rejected by later English writers as legendary. Moreover, St. Bede's phrase, Brittania . . . genuit (Vita Metricia, c. i), points to his English birth. He was probably born in the neighbourhood of Mailros (Melrose) of lowly parentage, for as a boy he used to tend sheep on the mountain-sides near that monastery. While still a child living with his foster-mother Kenswith his future lot as bishop had been foretold by a little play-fellow, whose prophecy had a lasting effect on his character. He was influenced, too, by the holiness of the community of Mailros, where St. Eata was abbot and St. Basil prior. In the year 651, while watching his sheep, he saw in a vision the soul of St. Aidan carried to heaven by angels, and inspired by this became a monk at Mailros. Yet it would seem that the troubled state of the country hindered him from carrying out his resolution at once. Certain it is that at one part of his life he was a soldier, and the years which succeed the death of St. Aidan and Oswin of Deira seem to have been such as would call for the military service of most of the able-bodied men of Northumbria, which was constantly threatened at this time by the ambition of its southern neighbor, King Penda of Mercia. Peace was not restored to the land until some four years later, as the consequence of a great battle which was fought between the Northumbrians and the Mercians at Winwidfield. It was probably after this battle that Cuthbert found himself free once more to turn to the life he desired. He arrived at Mailros on horseback and armed with a spear. Here he soon became eminent for holiness and learning, while from the first his life was distinguished by supernatural occurrences and miracles. When the monastery at Ripon was founded he went there as guest-master, but in 661 he, with other monks who adhered to the customs of Celtic Christianity, returned to Mailros owing to the adoption at Ripon of the Roman Usage in celebrating Easter and other matters. Shortly after his return he was struck by a pestilence which then attacked the community, but he recovered, and became prior in place of St. Boisil, who died of the disease in 664. In this year the Synod of Whitby decided in favour of the Roman Usage, and St. Cuthbert, who accepted the decision, was sent by St. Eata to be prior at Lindisfarne, in order that he might introduce the Roman customs into that house. This was a difficult matter which needed all his gentle tact and patience to carry out successfully, but the fact that one so renowned for sanctity, who had himself been brought up in the Celtic tradition, was loyally conforming to the Roman use, did much to support the cause of St. Wilfrid. In this matter St. Cuthbert's influence on his time was very marked. At Lindisfarne he spent much time in evangelizing the people. He was noted for his devotion to the Mass, which he could not celebrate without tears, and for the success with which his zealous charity drew sinners to God.

At length, in 676, moved by a desire to attain greater perfection by means of the contemplative life, he retired, with the abbot's leave, to a spot which Archbishop Eyre identifies with St. Cuthbert's Island near Lindisfarne, but which Raine thinks was near Holburn, where "St. Cuthbert's Cave" is still shown. Shortly afterwards he removed to Farne Island, opposite Bamborough in Northumberland, where he gave himself up to a life of great austerity. After some years he was called from this retirement by a synod of bishops held at Twyford in Northumberland, under St. Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury. At this meeting he was elected Bishop of Lindisfarne, as St. Eata was now translated to Hexham. For a long time he withstood all pressure and only yielded after a long struggle. He was consecrated at York by St. Theodore in the presence of six bishops, at Easter, 685. For two years he acted as bishop, preaching and labouring without intermission, with wonderful results. At Christmas, 686, foreseeing the near approach of death, he resigned his see and returned to his cell on Farne Island, where two months later he was seized with a fatal illness. In his last days, in March, 687, he was tended by monks of Lindisfarne, and received the last sacraments from Abbot Herefrid, to whom he spoke his farewell words, exhorting the monks to be faithful to Catholic unity and the traditions of the Fathers. He died shortly after midnight, and at exactly the same hour that night his friend St. Herbert, the hermit, also died, as St. Cuthbert had predicted.

St. Cuthbert was buried in his monastery at Lindisfarne, and his tomb immediately became celebrated for remarkable miracles. These were so numerous and extraordinary that he was called the "Wonder-worker of England". In 698 the first transfer of the relics took place, and the body was found incorrupt. During the Danish invasion of 875, Bishop Eardulf and the monks fled for safety, carrying the body of the saint with them. For seven years they wandered, bearing it first into Cumberland, then into Galloway and back to Northumberland. In 883 it was placed in a church at Chester-le-Street, near Durham, given to the monks by the converted Danish king, who had a great devotion to the saint, like King Alfred, who also honoured St. Cuthbert as his patron and was a benefactor to this church. Towards the end of the tenth century, the shrine was removed to Ripon, owing to fears of fresh invasion. After a few months it was being carried back to be restored to Chester-le-Street, when, on arriving at Durham a new miracle, tradition says, indicated that this was to be the resting-place of the saint's body. Here it remained, first in a chapel formed of boughs, then in a wooden and finally in a stone church, built on the present site of Durham cathedral, and finished in 998 or 999. While William the Conqueror was ravaging the North in 1069, the body was once more removed, this time to Lindisfarne, but it was soon restored. In 1104, the shrine was transferred to the present cathedral, when the body was again found incorrupt, with it being the head of St. Oswald, which had been placed with St. Cuthbert's body for safety — a fact which accounts for the well-known symbol of the saint.

From this time to the Reformation the shrine remained the great centre of devotion throughout the North of England. In 1542 it was plundered of all its treasures, but the monks had already hidden the saint's body in a secret place. There is a well-known tradition, alluded to in Scott's "Marmion", to the effect that the secret of the hiding-place is known to certain Benedictines who hand it down from one generation to another. In 1827 the Anglican clergy of the cathedral found a tomb alleged to be that of the saint, but the discovery was challenged by Dr. Lingard, who showed cause for doubting the identity of the body found with that of St. Cuthbert. Archbishop Eyre, writing in 1849, considered that the coffin found was undoubtedly that of the saint, but that the body had been removed and other remains substituted, while a later writer, Monsignor Consitt, though not expressing a definite view, seems inclined to allow that the remains found in 1827 were truly the bones of St. Cuthbert. Many traces of the former widespread devotion to St. Cuthbert still survive in the numerous churches, monuments, and crosses raised in his honour, and in such terms as "St. Cuthbert's patrimony", "St. Cuthbert's Cross", "Cuthbert ducks" and "Cuthbert down". The centre of modern devotion to him is found at St. Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, near Durham, where the episcopal ring of gold, enclosing a sapphire, taken from his finger in 1537, is preserved, and where under his patronage most of the priests for the northern counties of England are trained. His name is connected with two famous early copies of the Gospel text. The first, known as the Lindisfarne or Cuthbert Gospels (now in the British Museum, Cotton manuscripts Nero D 4), was written in the eighth century by Eadfrid, Bishop of Lindisfarne. It contains the four gospels and between the lines a number of valuable Anglo-Saxon (Northumbrian) glosses; though written by an Anglo-Saxon hand it is considered by the best judges (Westwood) a noble work of old-Irish calligraphy and illumination, Lindisfarne as is well known being an Irish foundation. The manuscript, one of the most splendid in Europe, was originally placed by its scribe as an offering on the shrine of Cuthbert, and was soon richly decorated by monastic artists (Ethelwold, Bilfrid) and provided by another (Aldred) with the aforesaid interlinear gloss (Karl Bouterwek, Die vier Evangelian in altnordhumbrischer Sprache, 1857). It has also a history scarcely less romantic than the body of Cuthbert. When in the ninth century the monks fled before the Danes with the latter treasure, they took with them this manuscript, but on one occasion lost it in the Irish Channel. After three days it was found on the seashore at Whithern, unhurt save for some stains of brine. Henceforth in the inventories of Durham and Lindisfarne it was known as "Liber S. Cuthberti qui demersus est in mare" (the book of St. Cuthbert that fell into the sea). Its text was edited by Stevenson and Warning (London, 1854-65) and since then by Kemble and Hardwick, and by Skeat (see LINDISFARNE). The second early Gospel text connected with his name is the seventh-century Gospel of St. John (now in possession of the Jesuit College at Stonyhurst, England) found in 1105 in the grave of St. Cuthbert.


Burton, Edwin. "St. Cuthbert." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 19 Mar. 2016<http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04578a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Paul Knutsen.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.


CUTHBERT OF LINDISFARNE. 634 A.D. – 687 A.D.
Cuthberts’ Call…

When Cuthbert was a child he was not interested in anything spiritual, he loved sports and he loved to play. He was always looking for a challenge or a challenger..One day while he was playing a game in a field, at about eight years old, a little boy of around three years old ran up to him. The child asked Cuthbert why he was playing and wasting his time on sports when he should be praying and preparing to serve God. When Cuthbert laughed, the little boy threw himself on the ground and began to sob. The other boys tried to console the child but it was no use. Cuthbert also tried to comfort him. The little boy got up and addressed Cuthbert sternly, “Why are you so stubborn in playing these games when God is calling you to serve him?” The child prophesied that one day Cuthbert would be a Bishop. Cuthbert was amazed and he hugged the child who immediately stopped crying. He knew that the words had reached Cuthberts’ heart.

Later on Cuthbert was a shepherd, and one night when he saw a light streaming from Heaven he discovered that Aiden the Beloved Bishop of Lindisfarne had died, he immediately went and took the sheep to their owner and decided to become a monk at the monastery at Melrose.

Cuthberts’ life was filled with incredible spiritual miracles including incidents with animals and birds which was fairly common with the Celtic church (came from the stream of the church which flowed from the Desert fathers in Egypt).

Cuthbert and the Otters

One of the young men wanted to find out where Cuthbert went in the night-time when he left the monastery and so he followed him secretly. Cuthbert went into the river up to his neck and stayed for several hours worshipping and praying. When he came out of the water two otters came to him and stretched themselves out beside him, warming him with the heat of their own bodies. The young man who had followed him was so frightened he had difficulty making it back to the monastery. When he saw Cuthbert he fell at his feet asking forgiveness for his spying.

Cuthbert and the birds…

Cuthbert decided, having left the monastery that he wanted to emulate the lives of the Desert Fathers, and live by the labor of his own hands. He asked the monks to bring him barley seeds to sow. Having planted the barley, it soon sprang up, but just as it was ripening, some birds flew down and began to eat it.. Cuthbert came out and began to scold the birds, “Why are you eating that which you didn’t sow? Is it that your need is greater than mine? If so, you can have permission to help yourselves; if not go away, and stop taking that which does not belong to you.” The birds left and the barley was harvested. A while later the birds returned and began taking straw from the roof for their nests. Cuthbert again came out and shouted at them, “In the name of Jesus Christ, depart at once; do not dare to cause further damage.” When he finished speaking the birds flew away. Three days later they returned when Cuthbert was digging, and they came and stood in front of him with their heads bowed down. Cuthbert was happy to forgive them and invited them to return. Next time the birds came back bringing a lump of pigs lard which Cuthbert kept in the guest house for his visitors to grease their shoes. He said, “If the birds can show humility, how much more should we humans seek such virtues.” The birds remained on the island with Cuthbert for many years, building nests with materials they found THEMSELVES.

Just prior to his death Cuthbert felt a fire in his stomach and the same day a minister/ priest arrived by boat. Cuthbert knew that he was going to leaving this world and sat down and dictated his final instructions for the brethren. “Live at peace with one another, when you meet try and agree and be of one mind. Live at peace with those around you and never treat anyone else with contempt. Always welcome others to your monastery. Never imagine that you or your way of life is superior to others, all who share the Christian faith are equal in Gods sight..” When he had finished speaking he was very quiet. He stayed quiet until the evening when he took communion. As he took the bread he lifted his arms upward as if embracing someone, then his face filled with joy, he gave up his spirit to God.


O’Hanlans Lives of the Irish Saints


FROM CELTIC FLAMES-KATHIE WALTERS



Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, OSB B (RM)

Born in Northumbria, England (?) or Ireland, c. 634; died on Inner Farne in March 20, 687; feast of his translation to Durham, September 4. Saint Cuthbert is possibly the most venerated saint in England, especially in the northern part of the country, where he was a very active missionary. Yet his real nationality is debated. His biographer, Saint Bede, did not specify it. Of course, the English claim him, but so do the Scottish.

There is a good likelihood the he was an Irishman named Mulloche, great-grandson of the High King Muircertagh of Ireland because, according to Moran citing documents in Durham Cathedral, the rood screen bore the inscription: "Saint Cuthbert, Patron of Church, City and Liberty of Durham, an Irishman by birth of royal parentage who was led by God's Providence to England." The cathedral's stained glass windows, which had been registered but destroyed during the reign of Henry VI, depicted the saint's life begin with his birth "at Kells" in Meath. This fact is corroborated by an ancient manuscript viewed by Alban Butler at Cottonian Library. One tradition relates that his mother, the Irish princess Saba, set out on a pilgrimage to Rome, left Cuthbert in the care of Kenswith, and died in Rome.

Thus, Cuthbert, like David, was a shepherd boy on the hills above Leader Water or the valley of the Tweed. Of unknown parentage, he was reared in the Scottish lowlands by a poor widow named Kenswith, and was a cripple because of an abscess on the knee made worse by an attempted cure. But despite this disability he was boisterous and high-spirited, and so physically strong that after he became a monk, on a visit to the monastery at Coldingham, he spent a whole night upon the shore in prayer, and strode into the cold sea praising God.

According to one of Saint Bede's two vitae of the saint, when Cuthbert was about 15, he had a vision of angels conducting the soul of Saint Aidan to heaven. Later, while still a youth, he became a monk under Saint Eata at Melrose Abbey on the Tweed River. The prior of Melrose, Saint Boisil, taught Cuthbert Scripture and the pattern of a devout life. Cuthbert went with Eata to the newly-founded abbey of Ripon in 661 as guest steward. He returned to Melrose, still just a mission station of log shanties, when King Alcfrid turned Ripon over to Saint Wilfrid. It was from Melrose that Cuthbert began his missionary efforts throughout Northumbria.

Cuthbert attended Boisil when the latter contracted the plague. The book of the Scriptures from which he read the Gospel of John to the dying prior was laid on the altar at Durham in the 13th century on Saint Cuthbert's feast. Thus, in 664, Cuthbert became prior of Melrose at the death of Boisil. Soon thereafter Cuthbert fell deathly ill with the same epidemic. Upon hearing that the brethren had prayed throughout the night for his recovery, he called for his staff, dressed, and undertook his duties (but he never fully recovered his health thereafter).

In 664, when Saint Colman refused to accept the decision of the Synod of Whitby in favor of Roman liturgical custom and migrated to Ireland with his monks, Saint Tuda was consecrated bishop in his place, while Eata was named abbot and Cuthbert prior of Lindisfarne, a small island joined to the coast at low tide. From Lindisfarne Cuthbert extended his work southward to the people of Northumberland and Durham.

Afterwards Cuthbert was made abbot of Lindisfarne, where he grew to love the wild rocks and sea, and where the birds and beasts came at his call. Then for eight years beginning in 676, Cuthbert followed his solitary nature by removing himself to the solitude of the isolated, infertile island of Farne, where it was believed that he was fed by the angels. There built an oratory and a cell with only a single small window for communication with the outside world. But he was still sought after, and twice the king of Northumberland implored him to accept election as bishop of Hexham, to which he finally agreed in 684, though unwillingly and with tears.

Almost immediately Cuthbert exchanged his see with Eata for that of Lindisfarne, which Cuthbert preferred. Thus, on Easter Sunday 685, Cuthbert was consecrated bishop of Lindisfarne by Saint Theodore archbishop of Canterbury, with six bishops in attendance at York. For two years Cuthbert was bishop of Lindisfarne, still maintaining his frugal ways and "first doing himself what he taught others." He administered his see, cared for the sick of the plague that decimated his see, distributed alms liberally, and worked so many miracles of healing that he was known in his lifetime as the "Wonder-Worker of Britain." Then at Christmas in 686, in failing health and knowing that his end was near, he resigned his office and retired again to his island cell; but though seriously ill and suffering intensely, he refused all aid, allowing none to nurse him, and finished his course alone.

In the very act of lifting his hands in prayer "his soul sped its way to the joys of the heavenly kingdom." News of his death was flashed by lantern to the watchers at Lindisfarne. Bede reports: "As the tiny gleam flashed over the dark reach of sea, and the watchman hurried with his news into the church, the brethren of the Holy Island were singing the words of the Psalmist: "Thou hast cast us out and scattered us abroad . . . Thou hast shown thy people heavy things."

He was buried at Lindisfarne, where they remained incorrupt for several centuries, but after the Viking raids began his remains wandered with the displaced monks for about 100 years until they were translated to Durham cathedral in 1104. Until its desecration under Henry VIII, his shrine at Durham was one of the most frequented places of pilgrimage for the power of healing that Cuthbert possessed during his lifetime lived on after him. The bones discovered in 1827 beneath the site of the medieval shrine are probably his. He is said to have had supernatural gifts of healing and insight, and people thronged to consult him, so that he became known as the wonder-worker of Britain. He had great qualities as a preacher, and made many missionary journeys. Bede wrote that "Cuthbert was so great a speaker and had such a light in his angelic face. He also had such a love for proclaiming his good news, that none hid their innermost secrets from him." Year after year, on horseback and on foot, he ventured into the remotest territories between Berwick and Galloway. He built the first oratory at Dull, Scotland, with a large stone cross before it and a little cell for himself. Here a monastery arose that became Saint Andrew's University.

His task was not easy, for he lived in an area of vast solitude, of wild moors and sedgy marshes crossed only by boggy tracts, with widely scattered groups of huts and hovels inhabited by a wild and heathen peasantry full of fears and superstitions and haunted by terror of pagan gods. His days were filled with incessant activity in an attempt to keep the spirit of Christianity alive and each night he kept vigil with God.

But unlike the Celtic missionaries, he spoke their language and knew their ways, for he had lived like them in a peasant's home. Once, when a snowstorm drove his boat onto the coast of Fife, he cried to his companions in the storm: "The snow closes the road along the shore; the storm bars our way over the sea. But there is still the way of Heaven that lies open."

Cuthbert was the Apostle of the Lowlands, renowned for his vigor and good-humor; he outstripped his fellow monks in visiting the loneliest and most dangerous outposts from cottage to cottage from Berwick to Solway Firth to bring the Good News of Christ. Selflessly he entered the houses of those stricken by the plague. And he was the most lovable of saints. His patience and humility persuaded the reluctant monks of Lindisfarne to adopt the Benedictine Rule.

He is especially appealing to us today because he was a keenly observant man, interested in the ways of birds and beasts. In fact, the Farne Islands, which served as a hermitage to the monks of Durham, are now a bird and wildlife sanctuary appropriately under the protection of Cuthbert. In his own time he was famed as a worker of miracles in God's name. On one occasion he healed a woman's dying baby with a kiss. The tiny seashells found only on his Farne Island are traditionally called Saint Cuthbert's Beads, and are said by sailors to have been made by him. This tradition is incorporated in Sir Walter Scott's Marmion.

The ample sources for his life and character show a man of extraordinary charm and practical ability, who attracted people deeply by the beauty of holiness.

His cultus is recalled in places names, such as Kirkcudbright (Galloway), Cotherstone (Yorkshire), Cubert (Cornwall), and more than 135 church dedications in England as well as an additional 17 in Scotland. A chapel in the crypt of Fulda was dedicated to him at its consecration (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Bentley, Colgrave, D'Arcy, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Fitzpatrick, Gill, Montague, Montalembert2, Moran, Skene, Tabor, Webb).

The following legends about Saint Cuthbert reveal as much about their author, the Venerable Bede as they do about Saint Cuthbert. Though they repeat in detail some of what is outlined above, they show the historian's care to note source and authority and show his quick eye that observes nature in detail. The complete biography can be found at the Medieval Sourcebook.





"One day as he rode his solitary way about the third hour after sunrise, he came by chance upon a hamlet a spear's cast from the track, and turned off the road to it. The woman of the house that he went into was the pious mother of a family, and he was anxious to rest there a little while, and to ask some provision for the horse that carried him rather than for himself, for it was the oncoming of winter.

"The woman brought him kindly in, and was earnest with him that he would let her get ready a meal, for his own comfort, but the man of God denied her. 'I must not eat yet,' said he, 'because today is a fast.' It was indeed Friday when the faithful for the most part prolong their fast until the third hour before sunset, for reverence of the Lord's Passion.

"The woman, full of hospitable zeal, insisted. 'See now,' said she, 'the road that you are going, you will find never a clachan or a single house upon it, and indeed you have a long way yet before you, and you will not be at the end of it before sundown. So do, I ask you, take some food before you go, or you will have to keep your fast the whole day, and maybe even till the morrow.' But though she pressed him hard, devotion to his religion overcame her entreating, and he went through the day fasting, until evening.

"But as twilight fell and he began to see that he could not come to the end of the journey he had planned that day, and that there was no human habitation near where he could stay the night, suddenly as he rode he saw close by a huddle of shepherds' huts, built ramshackle for the summer, and now lying open and deserted.

"Thither he went in search of shelter, tethered his horse to the inside wall, gathered up a bundle of hay that the wind had torn from the thatch, and set it before him for fodder. Himself had begun to say his hours, when suddenly in the midst of his chanting of the Psalms he saw his horse rear up his head and begin cropping the thatch of the hovel and dragging it down, and in the middle of the falling thatch came tumbling a linen cloth lapped up; curious to know what it might be, he finished his prayer, came up and found wrapped in the linen cloth a piece of loaf still hot, and meat, enough for one man's meal.

"And chanting his thanks for heaven's grace, 'I thank God,' said he, 'Who has stooped to make a feast for me that was fasting for love of His Passion, and for my comrade.' So he divided the piece of loaf that he had found and gave half to the horse, and the rest he kept for himself to eat, and from that day he was the readier to fasting because he understood that the meal had been prepared for him in the solitude by His gift Who of old fed Elijah the solitary in like fashion by the birds, when there was no man near to minister to him; Whose eyes are on them that fear Him and that hope in His mercy, that He will snatch their souls from death and cherish them in their hunger.

"And this story I had from a brother of our monastery which is at the mouth of the river Wear, a priest, Ingwald by name, who has the grace of his great age rather to contemplate things eternal with a pure heart than things temporal with the eyes of earth; and he said that he had it from Cuthbert himself, the time that he was bishop."
And a second story recorded by Bede:

"It was his way for the most part to wander in those places and to preach in those remote hamlets, perched on steep rugged mountain sides, where other men would have a dread of going, and whose poverty and rude ignorance gave no welcome to any scholar. . . . Often for a whole week, sometimes for two or three, and even for a full month, he would not return home, but would abide in the mountains, and call these simple folk to heavenly things by his word and his ways. . . ."

[He was, moreover, easily entreated, and came to stay at the abbey of Coldingham on a cliff above the sea.]

"As was his habit, at night while other men took their rest, he would go out to pray; and after long vigils kept far into the night, he would come home when the hour of common prayer drew near. One night, a brother of this same monastery saw him go silently out, and stealthily followed on his track, to see where he was going or what he would do.

"And so he went out from the monastery and, his spy following him went down to the sea, above which the monastery was built; and wading into the depths till the waves swelled up to his neck and arms, kept his vigil through the dark with chanting voiced like the sea. As the twilight of dawn drew near, he waded back up the beach, and kneeling there, again began to pray; and as he prayed, straight from the depths of the sea came two four-footed beasts which are called by the common people otters.

"These, prostrate before him on the sand, began to busy themselves warming his feet with pantings, and trying to dry them with their fur; and when this good office was rendered, and they had his benediction, they slipped back again beneath their native waters. He himself returned home, and sang the hymns of the office with the brethren at the appointed hour. But the brother who had stood watching him from the cliffs was seized with such panic that he could hardly make his way home, tottering on his feet; and early in the morning came to him and fell at his feet, begging forgiveness with his tears for his foolish attempt, never doubting but that his behavior of the nights was known and discovered.

"To whom Cuthbert: 'What ails you, my brother? What have you done? Have you been out and about to try to come at the truth of this night wandering of mine? I forgive you, on this one condition: That you promise to tell no man what you saw, until my death.' . . . And the promise given, he blessed the brother and absolved him alike of the fault and the annoyance his foolish boldness had given: The brother kept silence on the piece of valor that he had seen, until after the Saint's death, when he took pains to tell it to many"
Bede relates another story:

After many years at Lindisfarne Abbey, Cuthbert set out to become a hermit on an island called Farne, which unlike Lindisfarne, "which twice a day by the upswelling of the ocean tide . . . becomes an island, and twice a day, its shore again bared by the tide outgoing, is restored to its neighbor the land. . . . No man, before God's servant Cuthbert, had been able to make his dwelling here alone, for the phantoms of demons that haunted it; but at the coming of Christ's soldier, armed with the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God, the fiery darts of the wicked fell quenched, and the foul Enemy himself, with all his satellite mob, was put to flight."

Cuthbert built himself a cell on the island by cutting away the living rock of a cave. He constructed a wall out of rough boulders and turf. Some of the boulders were so large that "one would hardly think four men could lift them, and yet he is known to have carried them thither with angelic help and set them into the wall. He had two houses in his enclosure, one an oratory, the other a dwelling place. . . . At the harbor of the island was a larger house in which the brethren when they came to visit him could be received and take their rest. . . ."

At first he accepted bread from Lindisfarne, "but after a while he felt it was more fit that he should live by the work of his own hand, after the example of the Fathers. So he asked them to bring him tools to dig the ground with, and wheat to sow; but the grain that he had sown in spring showed no sign of a crop even by the middle of the summer. So when the brethren as usual were visiting him the man of God said, 'It may be the nature of the soil, or it may be it is not the will of God that any wheat should grow for me in this place: So bring me, I pray you, barley, and perhaps I may raise some harvest from it. But if God will give it no increase, it would be better for me to go back to the community than be supported here on other men's labors.'

"They brought him the barley, and he committed it to the ground, far past the time of sowing, and past all hope of springing: and soon there appeared an abundant crop. When it began to ripen, then came the birds, and its was who among them should devour the most. So up comes God's good servant, as he would afterwards tell--for many a time, with his benign and joyous regard, he would tell in company some of the things that he himself had won by faith, and so strengthen the faith of his hearers--'And why,' says he, 'are you touching a crop you did not sow? Or is it, maybe, that you have more need of it than I? If you have God's leave, do what He allows you: but if not, be off, and do no more damage to what is not your own.' He spoke, and at the first word of command, the birds were off in a body and come what might for ever after they contained themselves from any trespass on his harvests. . . .

"And here might be told a miracle done by the blessed Cuthbert in the fashion of the aforesaid Father, Benedict, wherein the obedience and humility of the birds put to shame the obstinacy and arrogance of men. Upon that island for a great while back a pair of ravens had made their dwelling: And one day at their nesting time the man of God spied them tearing with their beaks at the thatch on the brethren's hospice of which I have spoken, and carrying off pieces of it in their bills to build their nest.

"He thrust at them gently with his hand, and bade them give over this damage to the brethren. And when they scoffed at his command, 'In the name of Jesus Christ,' said he, 'be off with you as quick as ye may, and never more presume to abide in the place which ye have spoiled.' And scarcely had he spoken, when they flew dismally away.

"But toward the end of the third day, one of the two came back, and finding Christ's servant busy digging, comes with his wings lamentably trailing and his head bowed to his feet, and his voice low and humble, and begs pardon with such signs as he might: which the good father well understanding, gives him permission to return.

"As for the other, leave once obtained, he straight off goes to fetch his mae, and with no tarrying, back they both come, and carrying along with them a suitable present, no less than a good- sized hunk of hog's lard such as one greases axles with: Many a time thereafter the man of God would show it the brethren who came to see him, and would offer it to grease their shoes, and he would urge on them how obedient and humble men should be, when the proudest of birds made haste with prayers and lamentation and presents to atone for the insult he had given to man. And so, for an example of reformed life to men, these did abide for many years thereafter on that same island, and built their nest, nor ever wrought annoyance upon any" (Bede).
In art, Saint Cuthbert is dressed in episcopal vestments bearing the crowned head of Saint Oswald (Seal of Lindisfarne). At times he may be shown (1) with pillars of light above him; (2) with swans tending him; (3) as a hermit with a tau staff being fed by an eagle; (4) rebuking crows; (5) rebuilding a hut and driving out devils; (6) praying by the sea; (7) with a Benedictine monk kissing his feet; (8) when his incorrupt body was found with a chalice on his breast (Roeder); or (9) tended by sea otters, which signifies either his living in the midst of waters, or alludes to a legend. It is said that one night as he lay on the cold shore, exhausted from his penances, two otters revived his numb limbs by licking them (Tabor). There is a stained-glass icon of Cuthbert in York Minster from the late Middle Ages, as well as paintings on the backs of the stalls at Carlisle cathedral (Farmer).

The shrine of Saint Cuthbert is at Durham, but he is also venerated at Ripon and Melrose. His feast is still kept at Meath, Saint Andrews, and the northern dioceses of England (Attwater2). He is the patron of shepherds and seafarers, and invoked against the plague (Roeder). His patronage of sailors was the result of his appearance in the midst of violent storms at sea, wearing his mitre, as late as the 12th century. He is said to have used his crozier sometimes as an oar and at other times as a helm to save the struggling sailors from shipwreck. He is also said to have appeared to King Alfred, the conquering Canute the Dane, William the Conqueror, and others at critical moments. Thus, until the time of Henry VIII, soldiers marched under a sacred standard containing the corporal Cuthbert had used at Mass (D'Arcy).
 SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0320.shtml


March 20

St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Confessor

From his life written by Bede, and from that author’s Church History, b. 4. c. 27 to c. 32. Simeon Dunelm, or rather Turgot, Hist. Dunelm. published by Bedford: the old Latin hymn on St. Cuthbert. MS. in Bibl. Cotton. n. 41. apud Wanley, p. 184. and four Latin prayers, in honour of St. Cuthbert, MS. n. 190. in the library of Durham Church. Warnly, Catal. t. 2. p. 297. Harpsfield, sæc. 7. c. 34. Hearne on Langtoft, t. 2. p. 687. N. B. The history of Durham, which is here quoted, was compiled by Turgot, prior of Durham, down to the year 1104, and continued to the year 1161 by Simeon.

A.D. 687

WHEN the Northumbrians, under the pious King Oswald, had, with great fervour, embraced the Christian faith, the holy bishop St. Aidan founded two monasteries, that of Mailros, on the bank of the Tweed and another in the isle of Lindisfarne, afterwards called Holy Island, four miles distant from Berwick. In both he established the rule of St. Columba; and usually resided himself in the latter. St. Cuthbert 1 was born not very far from Mailros, and in his youth was much edified by the devout deportment of the holy inhabitants of that house, whose fervour in the service of God, and the discharge of the duties of a monastic life, he piously endeavoured to imitate on the mountains where he kept his father’s sheep. It happened one night that, whilst he was watching in prayer, near his flock, according to his custom, he saw the soul of St. Aidan carried up to heaven by angels, at the very instant that holy man departed this life in the isle of Lindisfarne. Serious reflections on the happiness of such a death determined the pious young man to repair, without delay, to Mailros, where he put on the monastic habit, whilst Eata was abbot, and St. Boisil prior. He studied the holy scriptures under the latter, and in fervour surpassed all his brethren in every monastic exercise. Eata being called to govern the new monastery of Rippon, founded by King Alcfrid, he took with him St. Cuthbert, and committed to him the care of entertaining strangers; which charge is usually the most dangerous in a religious state. Cuthbert washed the feet of others, and served them with wonderful humility and meekness, always remembering that Christ himself is served in his members. And he was most careful that the functions of Martha should never impair his spirit of recollection. When St. Wilfrid was made abbot of Rippon, St. Cuthbert returned with Eata to Mailross; and St. Boisil dying of the great pestilence, in 664, he was chosen provost or prior in his place.

  In this station, not content by word and example to form his monks to perfect piety, he laboured assiduously among the people to bring them off from several heathenish customs and superstitious practices which still remained among them. For this purpose, says our venerable historian, he often went out sometimes on horseback, but oftener on foot, to preach the way of life to such as were gone astray. Parochial churches being at this time very scarce in the country, it was the custom for the country people to flock about a priest or ecclesiastical person, when he came into any village, for the sake of his instructions; hearkening willingly to his words, and more willingly practising the good lessons he taught them. St. Cuthbert excelled all others by a most persuasive and moving eloquence; and such a brightness appeared in his angelical face in delivering the word of God to the people, that none of them durst conceal from him any part of their misbehaviour, but all laid their conscience open before him, and endeavoured by his injunctions and counsels to expiate the sins they had confessed, by worthy fruits of penance. He chiefly visited those villages and hamlets at a distance, which, being situate among high and craggy mountains, and inhabited by the most rustic, ignorant, and savage people, were the less frequented by other teachers. After St. Cuthbert had lived many years at Mailros, St. Eata, abbot also of Lindisfarne, removed him thither, and appointed him prior of that larger monastery. By the perfect habit of mortification and prayer the saint had attained to so eminent a spirit of contemplation, that he seemed rather an angel than a man. He often spent whole nights in prayer, and sometimes, to resist sleep, worked or walked about the island whilst he prayed. If he heard others complain that they had been disturbed in their sleep, he used to say, that he should think himself obliged to any one that awaked him out of his sleep, that he might sing the praises of his Creator, and labour for his honour. His very countenance excited those who saw him to a love of virtue. He was so much addicted to compunction and inflamed with heavenly desires, that he could never say mass without tears. He often moved penitents, who confessed to him their sins, to abundant tears, by the torrents of his own, which he shed for them. His zeal in correcting sinners was always sweetened with tender charity and meekness. The saint had governed the monastery of Lindisfarne, under his abbot, several years, when earnestly aspiring to a closer union with God, he retired, with his abbot’s consent, into the little isle of Farne, nine miles from Lindisfarne, there to lead an austere eremitical life. The place was then uninhabited, and afforded him neither water, tree nor corn. Cuthbert built himself a hut with a wall and trench about it, and, by his prayers, obtained a well of fresh water in his own cell. Having brought with him instruments of husbandry, he sowed first wheat, which failed; then barley, which, though sowed out of season, yielded a plentiful crop. He built a house at the entry of the island from Lindisfarne, to lodge the brethren who came to see him, whom he there met and entertained with heavenly conferences. Afterwards he confined himself within his own wall and trench, and gave spiritual advice only through a window, without ever stirring out of his cell. He could not however, refuse an interview with the holy abbess and royal virgin Elfleda, whom her father King Oswi, had dedicated to God from her birth, and who in 680, succeeded St. Hilda in the government of the abbey of Whitby. This was held in the isle of Cocket, then filled with holy anchorets. This close solitude was to our saint an uninterrupted exercise of divine love, praise, and compunction; in which he enjoyed a paradise of heavenly delights, unknown to the world.

In a synod of bishops, held by St. Theodorus at Twiford, on the river Alne, in the kingdom of Northumberland, it was resolved, that Cuthbert should be raised to the episcopal see of Lindisfarne. But as neither letters, nor messengers, were of force to obtain his consent to undertake the charge, King Egfrid, who had been present at the council, and the holy bishop Trumwin, with many others, sailed over to his island, and conjured him, on their knees, not to refuse his labours, which might be attended with so much advantage to souls. Their remonstrances were so pressing, that the saint could not refuse going with them, at least to the council, but weeping most bitterly. He received the episcopal consecration at York, the Easter following, from the hands of St. Theodorus, assisted by six other bishops. In this new dignity the saint continued the practice of his former austerities; but remembering what he owed to his neighbour, he went about preaching and instructing with incredible fruit, and without any intermission. He made it every where his particular care to exhort, feed, and protect the poor. By divine revelation he saw and mentioned to others, at the very instant it happened, the overthrow and death of King Egfrid, by the Picts, in 685. He cured, by water which he had blessed the wife of a noble Thane, who lay speechless and senseless at the point of death, and many others. For his miracles he was called the Thaumathurgus of Britain. But the most wonderful of his miracles was that which grace wrought in him by the perfect victory which it gave him over his passions. His zeal for justice was most ardent; but nothing seemed ever to disturb the peace and serenity of his mind. By the close union of his soul with God, whose will alone he sought and considered in all things, he overlooked all temporal events, and under all accidents his countenance was always cheerful, always the same: particularly in bearing all bodily pains, and every kind of adversity with joy, he was invincible. His attention to, and pure view of God in all events, and in all his actions arose from the most tender and sweet love, which was in his soul a constant source of overflowing joy. Prayer was his centre. His brethren discovered sometimes that he spent three or four nights together in that heavenly exercise, allowing himself very little or no sleep. When St. Ebba, the royal virgin, sister to the kings St. Oswald and Oswi, abbess of the double monastery of Coldingham, invited him to edify that house by his exortations, he complied, and staid there some days. In the night, whilst others were asleep, he stole out to his devotions according to his custom in other places. One of the monks who watched and followed him one night, found that the saint, going down to the sea-shore, went into the water up to the arm-pits, and there sung praises to God. In this manner he passed the silent time of the night. Before the break of day he came out, and having prayed awhile on the sands, returned to the monastery, and was ready to join in morning lauds.

St. Cuthbert, foreseeing his death to approach, resigned his bishopric, which he had held two years, and retired to his solitude in Farne Island, to prepare himself for his last passage. Two months after he fell sick, and permitted Herefrid, the abbot of Lindisfarne, who came to visit him, to leave two of his monks to attend him in his last moments. He received the viaticum of the body and blood of Christ from the hands of the abbot Herefrid, at the hour of midnight prayer, and immediately lifting up his eyes, and stretching out his hands, sweetly slept in Christ on the 20th day of March, 687. He died in the island of Farne: but, according to his desire, his body was buried in the monastery of Saint Peter in Lindisfarne, on the right side of the high altar. Bede relates many miracles performed at his tomb; and adds, that eleven years after his death, the monks taking up his body, instead of dust which they expected, found it unputrified, with the joints pliable, and the clothes fresh and entire. 2 They put it into a new coffin, placed above the pavement, over the former grave: and several miracles were there wrought, even by touching the clothes which covered the coffin. William of Malmesbury 3 writes, that the body was again found incorrupt four hundred and fifteen years afterwards at Durham, and publicly shown. In the Danish invasions, the monks carried it away from Lindisfarne; and after several removals on the continent, settled with their treasure on a woody hill almost surrounded by the river Were, formed by nature for a place of defence. They built there a church of stone, which Aldhune, bishop of Lindisfarne, dedicated in 995, and placed in it the body of St. Cuthbert with great solemnity, transferring hither his episcopal see. 4 Many princes enriched exceedingly the new monastery and cathedral, in honour of St. Cuthbert. Succeeding kings, out of devotion to this saint, declared the bishop a count palatine, with an extensive civil jurisdiction. 5 The great king Alfred, who honoured St. Cuthbert as his particular patron, and ascribed to his intercession some of his greatest victories, and other blessings which he received, was a special benefactor to this church. 6 The present cathedral was built in 1080. When the shrine of the saint was plundered and demolished by the order of King Henry VIII. the body of St. Cuthbert, which was found still entire, as Harpsfield testifies, met with greater regard than many others; for it was not burned, as were those of St. Edmund, king and martyr, St. Thomas, and others. After the king’s officers had carried away the plunder of his shrine, it was privately buried under the place where the shrine before stood, though the spot is now unknown. His ring, in which a sapphire is enchased, was given by Lord Viscount Montaigne to the bishop of Chalcedon, 7 who had long been sheltered from the persecution in the house of that nobleman, 8 and was by him left in the monastery of English canonesses at Paris, which is also possessed of a tooth of St. Cuthbert. A copy of St. John’s gospel, which, after the example of his master St. Boisil, he often read to nourish the fire of divine love in his soul, was put into his coffin when he was buried, and found in his tomb. It is now in the possession of Mr. Thomas Philips, canon of Tongres, on whom the present earl of Litchfield bestowed it. The copy is judged undoubtedly genuine by our ablest Protestant antiquaries, who carefully examined it.

The life of St. Cuthbert was almost a continual prayer. There was no business, no company, no place, how public soever, which did not afford him an opportunity, and even a fresh motive to pray. Not content to pass the day in this exercise, he continued it constantly for several hours of the night, which was to him a time of light and interior delights. Whatever he saw seemed to speak to him of God, and to invite him to his love. His conversation was on God or heavenly things, and he would have regretted a single moment, which had not been employed with God or for his honour, as utterly lost. The inestimable riches which he found in God, showed him how precious every moment is, in which he had it in his power to enjoy the divine converse. The immensity of God, who is present in us and in all creatures, and whom millions of worlds cannot confine or contain; his eternity, to which all time coexists, and which has neither beginning, end, nor succession; the unfathomed abyss of his judgments; the sweetness of his providence; his adorable sanctity; his justice, wisdom, goodness, mercy, and love, especially as displayed in the wonderful mystery of the Incarnation, and in the doctrine, actions, and sufferings, of our Blessed Redeemer; in a word, all the incomprehensible attributes of the Divinity, and the mysteries of his grace and mercy, successively filled his mind and heart, and kindled in his soul the most sweet and ardent affections in which his thirst and his delight, which were always fresh and always insatiable, gave him a kind of anticipated taste of paradise. For holy contemplation discovers to a soul a new most wonderful world, whose beauty, riches, and pure delights astonish and transport her out of herself. St. Teresa, coming from prayer, said she came from a world greater and more beautiful beyond comparison, than a thousand worlds, like that which we behold with our corporal eyes, could be. St. Bernard was always torn from this holy exercise with regret, when obliged to converse with men in the world, in which he trembled, lest he should contract some attachment to creatures, which would separate him from the chaste embraces of his heavenly spouse. The venerable priest, John of Avila, when he came from the altar, always found commerce with men insipid and insupportable.

Note 1. Cuthbert signifies Illustrious for skill: or Guthbertus, Worthy of God. [back]

Note 2. Bede, Hist. b. 4. c. 30. [back]

Note 3. L. 4. Pontif. Angl. [back]

Note 4. Dunelm, or Durham, signifies a hill upon waters, from the Saxon words Dun, a hill, and Holme, a place situate in or among the waters. [back]

Note 5. See Dugdale’s history of the cathedral of Durham; and Dr. Brown Willis on the same. [back]

Note 6. See Hickes, Thes. Ling. Septentr. Præf. p. 8. [back]

Note 7. Bp. Smith, Flores Hist. Eccles. p. 120. [back]

Note 8. Dr. Richard Smith, bishop of Chalcedon, relates in his life of Margaret Lady Montaigne, that Queen Elizabeth, out of her singular regard for this lady, from the time she had been lady of honour in the court of Queen Mary and King Philip, tacitly granted her house a kind of privilege, by never allowing it to be searched on account of religious persecution; so that sometimes sixty priests at once lay hidden in it. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume III: March. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/3/201.html

Voir aussi : Bede: The Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindesfarne (721) - http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/bede-cuthbert.as


https://citydesert.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/st-cuthbert-the-saint-who-tried-and-failed-to-live-in-obscurity/