War Against Evil
So put on God’s armour now! Then when the evil day comes you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground. Ephesians 6:13
It is not for quiet or security that we have formed a community in the monastery, but for a struggle and a conflict. We have met here for a contest, we have embarked upon a war against our sins … The struggle upon which we are engaged is full of hardships, full of dangers, for it is the struggle of a person against themself …
For this purpose we have gathered together in this tranquil retreat, this spiritual camp, that we may day after day wage an unwearying war against our passions.
Faustus of Riez
While Cuthbert sang his psalms, he worked with his hands, and so by toil he drove away the heaviness of sleep, or else indeed he went round the island finding out how everything was getting on … he used to blame the faintheartedness of brothers who were upset if aroused during the night. ‘No one annoys me by rousing me from sleep,’ he used to say, ‘rather, the person who wakens me gladdens me …’ In his zeal for right living he was keen to reprove sinners, yet he was kind and forbearing in pardoning those who were penitent, so that sometimes, when someone was confessing their sins to him, he would burst into tears., and so, by his own example, show the penitent what he should do …
Not until he first gained victory over our invisible enemy by solitary prayer and fasting did he take it upon himself to seek out a remote battlefield further away from his fellows … (the Inner Farne Island) At the entry of our soldier of Christ armed with ‘the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God’ the devil fled and his host of allies with him.
Bede’s Life of St. Cuthbert
Teach us, good Lord
To serve you as you deserve
To give and not to count the cost
To fight and not to heed the wounds
To labour and not to ask for any reward
Except that of knowing that we do your will.