• Help for a Complete Conversion

    From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Sat Mar 20 23:27:41 2021
    Help for a Complete Conversion

    "When we transform our old life and give our spirit a new image, we
    find it very hard and tiring to turn back from the darkness of earthly
    passions to the serene calm of the divine light.
    We thus ask God to help us that a complete conversion may be brought
    about in us."
    --St. Augustine--Commentary on Psalm 6, 5

    Prayer: Because of your Name may you have mercy on me according to
    your great mercy, Lord, and by no means abandon the work you have
    begun but complete what is imperfect in me.
    --St. Augustine--Confessions 10, 4

    21 March – St Enda of Aran

     (c 450 – c 530)

    Priest, Monk, Abbot of Aran “Patriarch of Irish Monasticism”  and Aran
    is known as “Aran of the Saints” – also known as Éanna, Edna, Éinne, Endeus, Enna – born in Meath, Ireland and died in c 530 of natural
    causes. Enda was a warrior-king of Oriel in Ulster, converted by his
    sister, Saint Fanchea, an abbess. About 484 he established the first
    Irish Monastery at Killeaney on Aran Mor. Most of the great Irish
    saints had some connection with Aran.

    According to the Martyrdom of Oengus, Enda was an Irish prince, son of
    Conall Derg of Oriel (Ergall) in Ulster. Legend has it that when his
    father died, he succeeded him as king and went off to fight his
    enemies. The soldier Enda, was converted by his sister, Saint Fanchea,
    an abbess. He visited St Fanchea of Rossory (died c 585), who tried to
    persuade him to lay down his arms. He agreed, if only she would give
    him a young girl in the convent for a wife. He renounced his dreams of
    conquest and decided to marry. The girl she promised turned out to
    have just died and Fanchea forced him to view the girl’s corpse, to
    teach him that he, too, would face death and judgment.

    Faced with the reality of death and by his sister’s persuasion, Enda
    decided to study for the priesthood and studied first at St Ailbe’s
    monastery at Emly. Fanchea sent him to Rosnat, a great centre of
    Monasticism. There he took Monastic vows and was Ordained. In this
    way, St Fanchea succeeded in turning her brother not only from
    violence but even from marriage. He left Ireland for several years,
    during which time he became a Monk and was ordained as a Priest.

    Upon his return to Ireland, he petitioned his King Aengus of Munster –
    who was married to another of Enda’s sisters – to grant him land for a Monastic settlement on the Aran Islands, a beautiful but austere
    location near Galway Bay off Ireland’s west coast.

    During its early years, Enda’s island mission had around 150 monks. As
    the community grew, he divided up the territory between his disciples,
    who founded their own Monasteries to accommodate the large number of
    vocations. Enda did not found a religious order in the modern sense
    but he did hold a position of authority and leadership over the
    Monastic settlements of Aran – which became known as “Aran of the Saints,” renowned for the monks’ strict rule of life and passionate
    love for God.

    Enda’s monks imitated the asceticism and simplicity of the earliest
    Egyptian desert hermits. He established the Monastery of Enda, which
    is regarded as the first Irish Monastery, at Killeany on Inismór. He
    also established a Monastery in the Boyne valley and several others
    across the island and along with St Finnian of Clonard is known as the
    Father of Irish monasticism. At Killeaney, the monks lived a hard life
    of manual labour, prayer, fasting and study of the Scriptures. The
    monks of Aran lived alone in their stone cells, slept on the ground,
    ate together in silence and survived by farming and fishing. St Enda’s monastic rule, like those of St Basil in the Greek East and St
    Benedict in the Latin West, set aside many hours for prayer and the
    study of scripture.

    Enda divided the island into two parts, one half assigned to the
    Monastery of Killeany, and the western half to such of his disciples
    as chose “to erect permanent religious houses on the island.” Later he divided the island into 8 parts, in each of which he built a “place of refuge”. The life of Enda and his monks was frugal and austere. The
    day was divided into fixed periods for prayer, labour and sacred
    study. Each community had its own church and its village of stone
    cells, in which they slept either on the bare ground or on a bundle of
    straw covered with a rug but always in the clothes worn by day. They
    assembled for their daily devotions in the church or oratory of the
    saint under whose immediate care they were placed. The monks took
    their meals in silence in a common refectory, from a common kitchen,
    having no fires in their stone cells, however cold the weather or wild
    the seas.

    They invariably carried out the monastic rule of procuring their own
    food and clothing by the labour of their hands. Some fished around the
    islands, others cultivated patches of oats or barley in sheltered
    spots between the rocks. Others ground grain or kneaded the meal into
    bread and baked it for the use of the brethren. They spun and wove
    their own garments from the undyed wool of their own sheep. They could
    grow no fruit in these storm-swept islands, they drank neither wine
    nor mead and they had no flesh meat, except perhaps a little for the

    During his own lifetime, Enda’s Monastic settlement on the Aran
    islands became an important pilgrimage destination, as well as a
    centre for the evangelisation of surrounding areas. At least two dozen Canonised Saints had some association with “Aran of the Saints.”

    Enda’s Monastery flourished until Viking times but much of the stone
    was ransacked by Cromwell’s men in the 1650s for fortifications, so
    only scattered ruins remain. Most survive as coastal ruined towers.
    Cattle, goats, and horses now huddle and shiver in the storm under
    many of the ruins of old walls where once men lived and prayed. These structures were the chosen home of a group of poor and devoted men
    under Saint Enda. He taught them to love the hard rock, the dripping
    cave and the barren earth swept by the western gales. They were “Men
    of the Caves” and “also Men of the Cross.”

    St Enda himself died in old age around the year 530. An early
    chronicler of his life declared that it would “never be known until
    the day of judgment, the number of saints whose bodies lie in the soil
    of Aran,” on account of the onetime-warrior’s response to God’s surprising call. His remains are buried at Tighlagheany, Inishmore,

    During his own lifetime, Enda’s monastic settlement on the Aran
    islands became an important pilgrimage destination, as well as a
    centre for the evangelisation of surrounding areas. At least two dozen canonised individuals had some association with “Aran of the Saints”.
    Among these were Saint Brendan the Navigator (c 484–c 577) https://anastpaul.com/2019/05/16/saint-of-the-day-16-may-st-brendan-the-navigator-c-484-c-577/,
    who was blessed for his voyage there, St Jarlath of Tuam, St Finnian
    of Clonard (470–549) https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/12/saint-of-the-day-12-december-saint-finnian-of-clonard-470-549-tutor-of-the-saints-of-ireland/
    and Saint Columban (543-615) https://anastpaul.com/2018/11/23/saint-of-the-day-23-november-st-columban-543-615/
    who called it the “Sun of the West. Aran became a miniature Mount
    Athos, with a dozen Monasteries scattered over the island, the most
    famous, Killeany, where Enda himself lived.


    Saint Quote:
    Idleness begets a life of discontent. It develops self-love, which is
    the cause of all our miseries, and renders us unworthy to receive the
    favors of divine love.
    -- St. Ignatius Loyola

    Bible Quote:
    He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (John 8:7)

    Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself.  (Matthew 16:24)

    "Do not weary thyself in vain; for thou wilt never succeed in
    possessing true spiritual sweetness and satisfaction. unless thou
    first deny all thy desires"
    --St. John of the Cross

    The Abbot Ellem as we read in the Lives of the Fathers, saw a
    honeycomb hanging from a rock and some fruit that had fallen from a
    tree, but he abstained from them. He then fell into a sleep, from
    which he was wakened by an angel, when he found himself by the side of
    a fountain surrounded by the freshest herbs, some of which he ate, and
    declared that he had never before tasted so great a delicacy.

    (Taken from the book "A Year with the Saints". March - Mortification)

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