Augustine of Canterbury

Luke 10:1-9

Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road.’

These words always pull me up short. I rarely travel light as I like to be able to cover every eventuality when I am on a journey. We can quickly spiritualise this text and tell ourselves that Jesus wants us to leave behind our heavy emotional baggage and to set out on a journey where he is the guide. But when it comes down to it leaving behind emotional baggage is every bit as hard as leaving behind physical baggage. What is being asked of us it to rely completely on God.

When St Augustine lands on these shores in 597 he too is being asked to rely completely on God. After leaving his monastery in Rome, the prospect of his mission is challenging and he considers turning back. He wrote to Pope Gregory, hoping to be able to abandon his mission. St Bede records Pope Gregory’s reply:

Let not, therefore, the toil of the journey, nor the tongues of evil-speaking men, discourage you; but with all earnestness and zeal perform, by God’s guidance, that which you have set about; being assured, that great labour is followed by the greater glory of an eternal reward.

In Pope Gregory’s reply I hear resonances of the Rule of St Benedict. In his Prologue St Benedict sounds several clarion calls: Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to meet him who has called us to his kingdom.

Few of us will be asked to lead a mission, but we can all answer the call to live with the Gospel as our guide. We can be Good News for others.

How is God calling you to be Good News for others?