Caedmon lived in the seventh century and was a herdsman by trade. According to St. Bede, who wrote about him, Caedmon was an unlettered cow herdsman who had no training or gifts for poetry. During local feasts at which singers and musicians would demonstrate their talents, Caedmon would feel embarrassed, believing he had no talents to share. Legend has it that Caedmon left one such feast to be with his cows in the pasture, feeling he could contribute nothing to the merriment. He fell asleep and dreamed that a man appeared to him and told him to sing him a song. Caedmon at first rejected his request, but the man persisted until Caedmon finally asked what he should sing. He was told that he should sing about the Creation of all things. Immediately, Caedmon began to sing verses in praise of God. When he awoke he was amazed that he not only remembered the verses he had just sung but was able to continue the poem. When his friends heard this new talent, they immediately suspected divine intervention and took Caedmon to see the abbess of Whitby, a holy woman named Hilda. She gave him several scripture verses, telling him to render them in prose. When he completed the task, she was thoroughly convinced that God had bestowed a great talent upon him. She advised him to leave his life as a herdsman and enter religious life. Caedmon did so, becoming a monk of Whitby. He was soon singing not only about the creation of the world but the origin of the human race, the whole story of Genesis, the Lord’s Incarnation, Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection, and much more. He also composed poems on the terrors of hell and the joys of heaven. St. Bede wrote of him, “Caedmon was a deeply religious man who firmly resisted all who tried to do evil, thus winning a happy death.”
Saint Caedmon died in the monastery surrounded by his Christian brothers. He made the sign of the cross, commended his soul into the hands of his Creator, and passed peacefully into eternity.
Saint Caedmon, we pray for your intercession on behalf of all who feel unworthy. Satan tries to steal so many souls by making them feel they have nothing to offer, or convincing them that God could never really love them. Please help these souls to realize that God loves us all and that He has given each of us gifts that can only be discovered by turning to Him. We pray that all His children may turn to Him today and receive the gifts He longs to give. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Cyril of Alexandria (444), Bishop, Doctor
St. Apollonia (249), Virgin, Martyr, Patron of Dentists
St. Nicephorus (260), Martyr