The Venerable Bede (672-735), whose feast day is May 25th, was destined from his birth to be a monk. Born near Wearmouth Abby in England,, he spent his life in that monastery from his earliest years, and became a scholar, teacher and spiritual guide. His commentaries on scripture and the history of England were known far beyond the place where he lived. He is considered the most learned man of his time.
“It’s ever been my delight to learn, to teach and to write,” he said, and he shared his learning with those he lived with; his wisdom inspires us today. Besides the scriptures and historical studies, Bede delighted in music, mathematics and learning about the natural world. He’s honored as a Doctor of the Church.
You can see from an account of his life by Cuthbert, a contemporary, that his brothers in the monastery liked him and held him in esteem. And he liked them. Until the day of his death he continued to think and teach and write. On the day he died he was finishing up one of his studies, a commentary on the scriptures. When it was done “on the floor of his cell, he sat and sang “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit”; and as he named the Spirit, the Breath of God, he breathed the last breath from his own body. With all the labour that he had given to the praise of God, there can be no doubt that he went into the joys of heaven that he had always longed for.”
Before he died, he wrote this:
“Before setting forth on that inevitable journey, none is wiser than the man who considers—before his soul departs hence—what good or evil he has done, and what judgement his soul will receive after its passing.”
Lord, give us a love of learning and a delight in your wisdom and truth.