It’s not the “Fighting Irish” that I am writing about today but one Irishman deserves our attention today September 23, 2014. It’s on September 23, that churches of the western world remember St. Adamnan. You can find across Scotland many sites dedicated to him.
Adamnan was born of royal blood in County Donegal around 624AD. His name means “Little Adam.” He became educated by local monks, and became a novice at the monastery of Iona. Eventually, when he was about 55, he rose to become the ninth abbot of the abbey at Iona.
Adamnan was active in the church and politics of his day. He served as a negotiator for the release of Irish captives who had been kidnapped by English pirates. He toured two of England’s great monasteries, including Jarrow, where his contemporary, the historian, Bede, lived. On a visit to Ireland, Adamnan convinced the Irish to adopt the Roman date for Easter. Seven years before his death, he attended the council of Birra and convinced the Irish kings to adopt the principle, known as Adamnan’s Law, which said that women, children, monks and other non-combatants were to be spared during war and no longer taken prisoner. This law was reaffirmed many times afterward by Irish rulers.
Among Adamnan’s other work was to write a book about Palestine and other distant lands, called On the Holy Places. He based its descriptions on interviews with Bishop Arculf, who had visited the Middle East as a pilgrim and made notes. He was described as “tearful, penitent, fond of prayer, diligent and ascetic, and learned in the clear understanding of the Holy Scriptures of God.” He died at Iona on this day, September 23, 704.
Saints and sinners – we all are – but each person is called to live out his or her vocation. We serve the Lord in various ways but that is the key – serve the Lord. Do your work as if it were for the Lord. Opportunities will come along in your life to do the good you need to do. Stay alert to them.
By the way today also marks the day in 1806 that Lewis and Clark returned from their epic voyage of discovery. It was hard to choose which to write about but it seems that every day can have new discoveries and gems of knowledge it we just brush off the dust a bit.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6