icon_bede-(September 4th is the Memorial of St Cuthbert in England and Wales, except for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle)

Cuthbert was so zealous in watching and praying, that he is believed to have sometimes passed three or four nights together therein.

During this time he neither went to his own bed, nor had any accommodation from the brethren for reposing himself.

For he either passed the time alone, praying in some retired spot, or singing and making something with his hands, thus beguiling his sleepiness by labour.

Or, perhaps, he walked round the island, diligently examining everything therein, and by this exercise relieved the tediousness of psalmody and watching.

Lastly, he would reprove the faintheartedness of the brethren, who took it amiss if any one came and unseasonably importuned them to awake at night or during their afternoon naps.

“No one,” said he, “can displease me by waking me out of my sleep, but, on the contrary, give me pleasure; for, by rousing me from inactivity, he enables me to do or think of something useful.”

So devout and zealous was he in his desire after heavenly things, that, whilst officiating in the solemnity of the Mass, he never could come to the conclusion thereof without a plentiful shedding of tears.

But whilst he duly discharged the mysteries of our Lord’s passion, he would, in himself, illustrate that in which he was officiating; in contrition of heart he would sacrifice himself to the Lord.

And whilst he exhorted the standers-by to lift up their hearts and to give thanks unto the Lord, his own heart was lifted up rather than his voice, and it was the spirit which groaned within him rather than the note of singing.

In his zeal for righteousness he was fervid to correct sinners, he was gentle in the spirit of mildness to forgive the penitent.

Thus he would often shed tears over those who confessed their sins, pitying their weaknesses, and would himself point out by his own righteous example what course the sinner should pursue.

He used vestments of the ordinary description, neither noticeable for their too great neatness, nor yet too slovenly.

Wherefore, even to this day, it is not customary in that monastery for anyone to wear vestments of a rich or valuable colour, but they are content with that appearance which the natural wool of the sheep presents.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735):Life of St Cuthbert, 16 @ Mediaeval Sourcebook.

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