Buy the More Enduring Story – St. Columba

“Since all the world is but a story, it were well for thee to buy the more enduring story, rather than the story that is less enduring” – The Judgment of Colum Cille

Life is short, fragile, arbitrary, and unpredictable. Like anything, it saturates the mind with repetition. The longer we live, the more we see and consider aspects of life and death. Unfortunately, there are too many children around the world who have seen death far too often. They face a brevity of life, which causes despair, far too early.

None of us like to consider affliction, much less death. At the same time eternity is bound in our hearts. Living is our desire, yet death is the end which can not be ignored. The writer of Ecclesiastes puts it this way, “9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.  11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”

When we are not sure of an outcome, we try to act in a way that tends toward maximizing a better ending. Colm Cille, a sixth century Irish abbot working with the early Scottish church, asks the question, why should’nt we buy the more enduring story?

Many of us do not know what to think when it comes to existence beyond our last breath. The question is valid. If your life is your unfolding story, the story you get to live, why not coose the best story, the most enduring story?

What story will you buy?

What story can be better, more enduring than living for eternity with God? Those who accept the gift of life, the gift offered by Jesus, will enjoy life with Him without end. This is the most enduring story.

17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Revelations 3:17-18

The Judgment of Colum Cille 7 December 521 – 9 June 597 AD – “Since all the world is but a story, it were well for thee to buy the more enduring story, rather than the story that is less enduring” – St Columba of Scotland



St. Columba was born on December 7, ca. 521 A.D. to Fedhlimidh and Eithne of the Ui Neill clan in Gartan (Donegal). As a young man, Columba soon took an interest in the church, joined the monastery at Moville, and was ordained a deacon by St. Finnian. After studying with a bard called Gemman, Columba was ordained a priest by Etchen, the bishop of Clonfad. Columba entered the monastery of Mobhi Clarainech, and when disease forced the disbanding of that monastery, Columba went north and founded the church of Derry. Tradition has it that after founding several other monasteries, Columba copied St. Finnian”s psalter without the permission of Finnian, and thus devalued the book. When Finnian took the matter to High King Dermott for judgement, Dermott judged in favor of Finnian, stating “to every cow its calf; to every book its copy” (I am borrowing this quote from Cathach Books in Dublin). Columba refused to hand over the copy, and Dermott forced the issue militarily. Columba”s family and clan defeated Dermott at the battle of Cooldrevny in 561. Tradition further holds that St. Molaisi of Devenish, Columba”s spiritual father, ordered Columba to bring the same number of souls to Christ that he had caused to die as pennance. In 563, Columba landed on Iona with 12 disciples, and founded a new monastery. After founding several more monasteries, confounding the local druids, and participating in another battle (this time against St. Comgall over who owned the church of Colethem), Columba died on June 9, 597.

Introduction [Seth Seyfried] – Life of Saint Columba, Founder of Hy. Written by Adamnan, Ninth Abbot of that Monastery, ed. William Reeves. (Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1874) – ‘Medieval Sourcebook: Adamnan: Life of St. Columba

This blog was reworked and republished