FOR WHAT WAS THE COURSE OF HIS LIFE, BUT ONE LONG CONFLICT WITH A WATCHFUL FOE?
We may safely extol the merits of the blessed Father [St Edmund of Abingdon], for he is now secure; he who, manfully handling the rudder of faith, has now cast the anchor of hope in a snug harbour, has brought his ship, laden with heavenly riches and eternal rewards, to the shore for which he longed. For a long time he opposed the shield of the fear of God unflinchingly against all enemies until the victory was won. For what was the course of his life, but one long conflict with a watchful foe?
How often did he not open the eyes of blind souls, who were wandering from the way of truth, and already hanging from the edge of a precipice over the abyss, and restore to them their sight, that they might see Christ? How often did he give the precious gift of hearing to ears that were deaf, afflicted by being stopped up by unbelief, that they might perceive the voice of the heavenly commandments; that they might hear God calling them to forgiveness, and might answer by obedience? How often did he not heal the wounds of the spirit by the skill of his prayers and angelic words?
How many, enfeebled by long neglect of the stain of sin and, as it were, full of infection of leprosy, have been cleansed by the grace of God working in him, and expiated through his teaching and discipline? How many, living in body, but already dead in soul and overwhelmed and buried beneath the weight of their sins, has he not raised to life in God, by calling them to amendment, as it were, to light? For, marvellous imitator of his Lord, he brought souls to a life-giving death, by which they die indeed to sin, but live unto God.
– From: Sermon of St Maximus, Bishop, ‘on the feast day of a Confessor Bishop’, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964