(67) And these were the virtuous customs of Ciaran all his life; he never wore woollen clothing, but skins of wolves and other brute beasts; and he avoided all dainty (lit. worldly or secular) meats, and all intoxicating drinks; and he took but little sleep. And there was a continual attendance of angels about him. And the bishops and priests that he ordained were innumerable.
(68) Moreover, if any injury were done to him, he would always do some good thing in return, for he always forgave injuries. He would labour with his hands for the love of God, to get what they wanted for the poor. And so he passed his life in this world as to receive the crown of eternal life in the world to come. Who is there who could maintain in this world in the human body a life like Ciaran’s, in fastings and abstinences, in cold and watching, in chastity and hospitality (lit. house of guests)?
(69) And so he spent his life from infancy till death, in daily prayer, study, and preaching, and in bearing judgement, whether silently or in speech. He was compassionate, prudent, steadfast, merciful, virtuous, humble to God and to his neighbour, teaching his monks in accordance with the words of the apostle Paul. For these are the words of Paul: ‘Imitate me,’ says Paul, ‘as I have imitated Christ, to receive honour from God and [? not] from men; and seek not anything for the sake of worldly glory, but for God.’
(70) And he neglected none of the commandments of God, but (gave) bread to the hungry, and drink to the thirsty, welcomed strangers, and visited the sick, (giving) alms to the poor and clothes to the naked. And the motive for which he did so was this, that he might obtain his portion in the life everlasting, and for fear of the reproof of God in the presence of the judgement. And Ciaran bade his monks to maintain these commandments, that is to have love one to another.
C. Plummer, ed. and trans., Life of Saint Ciarán of Saighir II, in Bethada Náem nÉrenn: Lives of Irish Saints, Volume II (Oxford, 1922).
Note: For a fuller account of the life of Saint Ciarán, also drawn from his hagiography, see the account by Father Albert Barry at the blog here.
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