Cuthbert of Northumbria: Well of Grace

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News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Acts 15:22-24

“It was Cuthbert’s custom to travel and preach, particularly in those remote districts and villages which were situated in high and rugged hills, which others shrank from visiting. Many miracles followed Cuthbert’s preaching, and he was given grace to see into people’s hearts. As a result, many were converted from a life of foolish custom to the love of the joys of of heaven…

After many years in the monastery he finally entered with great joy, and with the goodwill of the abbot and monks, into remoter solitude that he had so long sought, thirsted after, and prayed for. To learn the first steps of the solitude, he retired to a place in the outer precincts of the monastery. Not until he had first gained victory over our invisible enemy by solitary prayer and fasting, did he seek a more remote place on the island of Inner Farne.”

This prayer is referred to as his “prayer of commitment.”

In the true faith may we remain;
in Jesus may we find hope;
against exploitation of the poor may we help;
against our faults may we fight;
our bad habits abandon;
the name of our neighbor may we defend;
in the work of mercy may we advance;
those in misery may we help;
every danger of sin may we avoid;
in holy charity may we grow strong;
in the well of grace in confession may we wash;
may we deserve the help of the saints,
the friendship of our brother Cuthbert win.

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

Cuthbert of Northumbria (635-687) in Celtic Daily Prayer (New York: Harper Collins, 2002) 171-177.

Saints like Cuthbert remind me of Barnabas in the Acts of the Apostles. The driving power behind the ministry of Barnabas, according to Luke, was grace. The grace of God was at work in him. It inspired some to persevere in hard times and drew many others to faith.

Similarly, centuries later in the most remote parts of Northumbria, Cuthbert also traveled and ministered thanks to the grace of God at work in Him. In his prayer of commitment we discern further that in solitude he found the well of grace. Have you located this well?

For us to grow in Christian generosity, we must visit the well of grace. In solitude we must be filled with the unmerited kindness and love of God, which flows at the well of grace in abundance. It blesses those around us and leads many to faith.

Father, fill us from your well of grace.