Image Source = Roland Zumbuhl, of Picswiss
SAINT TUTILO (DIED IN 915)
Roman Catholic Monk, Scholar, Artist, and Composer
While an undergraduate at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, I spent considerable amounts of time at the Wesley Foundation. I had ceased to be a United Methodist by then, having already converted to The Episcopal Church. But I moonlighted at the Wesley Foundation. Long conversations with the Director have influenced my thinking profoundly. Gene, now retired, was (and presumably remains) a committed Christian who dared to ask great questions and to contradict the local prevailing “wisdom.” So he was correct about a great many things, I am convinced. Yet he was quite mistaken regarding the matter of monasticism. Monks and nuns, he said, were useless.
To the contrary, they are some of the most useful people on the planet. Historically they have devoted their lives to prayer, medicine, education, scholarship, and the care of orphans and of children whose parents could not care for them adequately. Today many faithful monks and nuns devote their lives to prayer. That is an excellent way to spend one’s time on Earth.
Consider the case of St. Tutilo. He spent much of his life at the Abbey of St. Gall, a center of learning, music, and art during the Middle Ages. (Monasteries and convents developed and preserved such treasures during that difficult period of time.) At the abbey St. Tutilo was in his element. There he worked on illuminated manuscripts, many of them books of Gregorian Chants, many of which he composed. Details of his life remain sketchy, but, according to surviving accounts, all of the following words described him: scholar, teacher, monk, composer, school master, goldsmith, builder, sculptor, builder, painter, poet, musician, genius, and humorist.
The Westminster Larger Catechism, Question #1, says it best:
What is the chief and highest end of man?
Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
St. Tutilo fulfilled that description. May you do so also, as God directs.
May we never underestimate the power of a holy life. Names may fade into history and documentary evidence may crumble and become lost forever, but God remembers. The full record of the holy saints of God is not lost; it is merely not entirely accessible in this life.
Loving God, the memory of most of those who have trusted in your promises is lost to recorded history, if ever it was part of the historical record. And most of us who live today and affirm you with our faith will join them in historical anonymity. Of others, such as St. Tutilo, there is scant available information. We thank you for the examples of St. Tutilo and all others who are nearly or entirely forgotten to us. People understood their witness in their times; may we likewise function as beacons of divine light, for your glory and the benefit of others. Amen.
Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 44:1-15
Luke 8:4-8, 11-15
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JANUARY 26, 2011 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF SAINTS TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL
THE FEAST OF SAINT ANGELA MERICI, FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY OF SAINT URSULA
THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULA, CONFIDANTE OF SAINT JEROME
THE FEAST OF CHARLES MATHIAS, UNITED STATES SENATOR
Revised on December 24, 2016