‘No admiring contemporary wrote Aidan’s biography, and there are therefore but a few personal stories of him. But Bede, who, although he deplored his peculiarly Celtic ecclesiastical customs, had a most loving respect for him and refers to him always as “the good”, relates to instances of his spiritual power, which he had learnt from men who is integrity he trusted. A deputation, headed by a trusted priest, was going to Kent to fetch the royal bride for Oswy, and he came first to Lindisfarne to ask for prayers for his journey. Aidan when he blessed him gave him a little cruse of oil, saying, “On your return sea-voyage I know you will meet with stormy weather, but remember to cast this oil on the sea, and then the wind will subside, you will have a pleasant calm, and return in safety”. And all fell out as Aidan had foretold. The second story is of the Mercian invasion, when the dread King Penda was ravaging Northumbria and had attacked royal Bamborough, which he was firing with the wind in his favour. From his island of prayer Aidan could see the terrible flames leaping the city walls. “Behold, Lord, how great mischief Penda does!” The words were hardly out of his mouth when those standing by saw the sudden veering of the wind so that the fierce fire turned back on the attackers; which so alarmed them that they withdrew, realising that the city was under a supernatural protection against which their weapons would be useless. And what a perfect form of intercession: simply, “Behold, Lord.”’
Sibyl Harton, 1898-1993
O everlasting God, who didst send thy gentle Bishop Aidan to proclaim the Gospel in Britain: grant that, aided by his prayers, we may live after his teaching in simplicity, humility, and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Collect for Saint Aidan, Bishop, and the Saints of Lindisfarne, from Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon