It is said that the birth of David (Dewi in Welsh) was foretold by an angel thirty years before it took place, both to his father, Sant, a man of the royal house, and to Patrick (see March 17th) in Ireland. His mother, Non, also of noble birth, was a great beauty. Sant seeing her on his travels, was enflamed with passion for her and forced her to lie with him. The local ruler threatened to kill the child at birth, but when that day came a violent storm arose, and Non fled for shelter to a chapel by a holy well. The lightning flooded the area with brilliant light, protecting both Non and her baby.
David went on to become a monk, inspired by the Desert Fathers and Mothers, and founded ten monasteries, mostly in Wales. His main monastery was at Menevia, the present-day St. David’s in Pembrokeshire. He also founded the abbey at Glastonbury. He advocated an austere life, but his monks embraced it with willing hearts. No-one was allowed to join them unless they waited at the door for ten days, bearing hostile treatment; if the candidate was patient through all of this, then he was welcomed warmly. The monks’ food was mainly bread, vegetables, salt and water, and it is said that David taught them to grow leeks. Long hours were spent in silence, prayer and worship, and heavy manual labour. David declared that the brothers should work so hard that their only desire was to love one another, and that there should be no conversation beyond what was necessary.
A story arose about the time when David was asked to speak at the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi. The bishops could not make themselves heard above the noise of the great crowds, in spite of making a large heap of garments to stand on. David came reluctantly, laid a small cloth on the ground and stood on it. Immediately the ground beneath it rose up to form a hill, giving him a vantage point from which to speak to the people. As he spoke a dove, representing wisdom, came and landed on his shoulder. Although it is very unlikely that the events happened in this way, the story is an indication of the extent to which David’s wisdom was revered
Lord Jesus, You taught us to love one another as You loved us. So may we work for the Father as You also worked. Teach us the value of simplicity, humility, patience and silence. Grant us Your wisdom and help us to bring You praise in all that we do. Amen.