The Eucharist, mystery of Christ’s incarnation

ANOTHER time four holy founders of monasteries came from Scotia (Ireland), to visit St. Columba [AD 521-597], and found him in the Hinba island (Eilean-na-Naoimh). The names of these distinguished men were Comgell Mocu Aridi, Cainnech Mocu Dalon, Brenden Mocu Alti, and Cormac, grandson of Leathain.

They all with one consent agreed that St. Columba should consecrate, in their presence in the church, the holy mysteries of the Eucharist.

The saint complied with their express desire, and entered the church with them on Sunday as usual, after the reading of the Gospel; and there, during the celebration of the solemn offices of the Mass, St. Brenden Mocu Alti saw, as he told Comgell and Cainnech afterwards, a ball of fire like a comet burning very brightly on the head of Columba, while he was standing before the altar, and consecrating the holy oblation, and thus it continued burning and rising upwards like a column, so long as he continued to be engaged in the same most sacred mysteries.

“Life of Saint Columba”, by St Adomnán of Iona (?627 – 704), ed. William Reeves (1874). At Mediaeval Sourcebook.


THE great mystery of thine incarnation, O thou who lovest mankind, thou didst reveal unto thy initiates, saying as ye sat at table together: Eat the life-giving bread, drink with faith the blood which hath poured forth from the divine side of the Victim.

From Compline on Great Thursday.