Monday, 12 December 2016

St. Colga, Lector of Clonmacnoise - III

From O’Hanlon’s, Lives of the Irish Saints, Vol. 2, pps. 249ff., 20th January, Article VIII.

(Part III - Teachings)

St. Colga clearly shows the feeling of the ancient Irish Church, with respect to the practice of holy virginity, and in honouring the ever-blessed Mother of God. He alludes to the special reverence, in which Saint Germanus of Auxerre was held in Ireland, perhaps on account of his close connection with our holy Apostle, St. Patrick. The honour to be shown to the monastic state is indicated, by associating with all the holy monks who made battle for God's sake throughout the whole world, the great names of Elias and Eliseus under the Old Law, and of John the Baptist, Paul, the first hermit, and Anthony, the first founder of the monastic state, in the New Testament. Then Colga follows a chronological order. Our saint first invokes the early patriarchs, viz., Abel, Seth, &tc., to Jacob. He then calls upon the chosen of the written Law, including Moses, Josue, &c., and the chosen of the law of the Prophets, viz., Elius, Eliseus, David, and Solomon. He then passes to the New Testament, begging the intercession of Christ's own holy Apostles, and all the saints to the end of the world. Then, he sums up under one heading, the whole Church of Christ on earth. When indicating those holy bishops, who founded the ecclesiastical city in Rome, St. Colga follows the order of that Canon, found in the ancient Roman Liturgy. After St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles,(23) he names Linus, Cletus, Clement, showing by this arrangement, that close connection of our ancient Church, with the other Churches of Europe, and especially with the Church of Rome. Again, we are told, that it was he who composed that kind of prayer, called the Scuab Crabhaidh,(24) which means "the Besom or Broom of Devotion." In the prologue or preface, before that prayer already named, it is stated, that this Colga was a saint, was a priest, and was a scribe, among the saints of Erin.(25) From Colgan's description, it seems probable, that this does not differ from the prayer, which assumes the form of a Litany. It is stated to be a fasciculus of most ardent prayers, full of devout feeling, and of mental elevation towards the Almighty.(26)

Notes in O'Hanlon
(23) The Rev. Father Mullooly, O.P., of St. Clement's Church in Rome, has ably endeavoured to elucidate the order of succession among the early Sovereign Pontiffs.
(24) This is contained in the ''Book of Clonmacnoise." See Colgan's " Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae," n. 9, p. 379.
(25) See the O'Clerys' " Martyrology of Donegal," at the 20th of February.
(26) See Colgan's "Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae," xx. Februarii. De S. Colga, Sapiente, n. 9, p. 379.

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