Seraph February 1996 Vol XVI No.6 [Children's Page]

Children's Page

St. Cuthbert

(March 20)

In the valley of the Tweed, the river which divides England from Scotland, there lived the young man, Cuthbert. He was a strong athletic boy. He spent much of his time playing games and sports. He was very good at running, jumping, and wrestling, and won most of the time. Then one day something terrible happened. Cuthbert hurt his knee. It started to swell, and the doctor could do nothing to help him. He could no longer run about with his friends and he was very lonely. He thought he would be a cripple all his life.

Then one day a traveller told him of a way in which his knee might be cured. Cuthbert tried it and was soon well again. He decided to become a soldier in the army for the King of Northumbria. He never forgot the lonely times he spent alone praying to God to make his knee better. He often wished that he could become a hermit and have more time to say prayers for other people.

One night while he was looking after sheep in the Grampian Hills, he suddenly saw a great light in the sky. He looked very closely and saw that it was a band of angels coming down to earth and carring someone back to heaven. He asked all those who were with him if they had seen anything. No one else had seen the light and they told him that he must have dreamed it. Later on Cuthbert learned that on that very night St Aidan had died. He decided that this meant that God wanted him to live like St Aidan.

As soon as Cuthbert found someone else to look after the sheep he went to Melrose (the nearest monastery) and became a monk. Latter he was sent to Lindisfarne itself and became the Prior there. All the time though he truly wanted to be a hermit. At last the bishop let him have hi s way. Cuthbert went to an islet named Fame. No one lived here because everyone thought that evil spirits lived here. Cuthbert and some of the brothers went there and found a fresh water spring and built a cell for Cuthbert and a hospice for visitors. they planted the wheat. Then the brothers left Cuthbert on the island.

In the spring Cuthbert saw that the wheat would not grow on the island so he obtained some barley and planted it. and soon had a good crop of barley. The birds. then began to bother him. There were two crows especially that caused him problems. They would eat the seeds that he planted and take the straw from the hospice roof to make their nest. The other birds soon began to imitate the crows. St. Cuthbert had no choice and he solemnly commanded the crows to leave the island and never return.

For a long while the crows never returned. Then one day St. Cuthbert saw one of the crows with his wings drooping and his head hung low. Cuthbert smiled at the crow and forgave him. The crow knew that he was forgiven and returned with his mate. They then lived peaceably with St. Cuthbert. Cuthbert enjoyed his new life very much, and he was still able to give advise to those who would come to visit him.

One day the King and many nobles came to the island to ask St. Cuthbert to become the bishop of Lindisfarne. St. Cuthbert saw that this was the will of God and went back to Lindisfarne and filled the place once filled by St. Aidan. Now he knew why when he was a shepherd long ago he had seen St. Aidan's soul asending into Heaven -he had to one day take St. Aidan's place as Bishop of Lindisfarne.

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