icon_bede-March 20th is the Feast of St Cuthbert (c 635-687)

When this holy man (St Cuthbert) was thus acquiring renown by his virtues and miracles, Ebbe, a pious woman and handmaid of Christ, was the head of a monastery at a place called the city of Coludi, remarkable both for piety and noble birth, for she was half-sister of King Oswy.

She sent messengers to the man of God, entreating him to come and visit her monastery. This loving message from the handmaid of his Lord he could not treat with neglect, but, coming to the place and stopping several days there, he confirmed, by his life and conversation, the way of truth which he taught.

Here also, as elsewhere, he would go forth, when others were asleep, and having spent the night in watchfulness return home at the hour of morning-prayer.

Now one night, a brother of the monastery, seeing him go out alone, followed him privately to see what he should do.

But he when he left the monastery, went down to the sea, which flows beneath, and going into it, until the water reached his neck and arms, spent the night in praising God.

When the dawn of day approached, he came out of the water, and, falling on his knees, began to pray again.

Whilst he was doing this, two quadrupeds, called otters, came up from the sea, and, lying down before him on the sand, breathed upon his feet, and wiped them with their hair after which, having received his blessing, they returned to their native element.

Cuthbert himself returned home in time to join in the accustomed hymns with the other brethren.

The brother, who waited for him on the heights, was so terrified that he could hardly reach home; and early in the morning he came and fell at his feet, asking his pardon, for he did not doubt that Cuthbert was fully acquainted with all that had taken place.

To whom Cuthbert replied, “What is the matter, my brother? What have you done? Did you follow me to see what I was about to do? I forgive you for it on one condition – that you tell it to nobody before my death.”

In this he followed the example of our Lord, who, when He showed his glory to his disciples on the mountain, said, “See that you tell no man, until the Son of man be risen from the dead.”

When the brother had assented to this condition, he gave him his blessing, and released him from all his trouble. The man concealed this miracle during St. Cuthbert’s life; but, after his death, took care to tell it to as many persons as he was able.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735): Life of St Cuthbert, 10 @ Mediaeval Sourcebook.

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