The Early Life of Malachy. Having Been Admitted to Holy Orders He Associates with Malchus
[Sidenote: 1095.]

1. Our Malachy, born in Ireland,[134] of a barbarous people, was brought up there, and there received his education. But from the barbarism of his birth he contracted no taint, any more than the fishes of the sea from their native salt. But how delightful to reflect, that uncultured barbarism should have produced for us so worthy[135] a fellow-citizen with the saints and member of the household of God.[136] He who brings honey out of the rock and oil out of the flinty rock[137] Himself did this. His parents,[138] however, were great both by descent and in power, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.[139] Moreover his mother,[140] more noble in mind than in blood, took pains, in the very beginning of his ways,[141] to show to her child the ways of life,[142] esteeming this knowledge of more value to him than the empty knowledge of the learning of this world. For both, however, he had aptitude in proportion to his age. In the schools he was taught learning, at home the fear of the Lord,[143] and by daily progress he duly responded to both teacher and mother.[144] For indeed he was endowed from the first with a good spirit,[145] in virtue of which he was a docile boy and very lovable, wonderfully gracious to all in all things. But he was [now] drinking, instead of milk from the breast of a mother, the waters of saving wisdom,[146] and day by day he was increasing in discretion. In discretion, shall I say, or in holiness? If I say both, I shall not regret it, for I should say the truth.[147] He behaved as an old man, a boy in years without a boy's playfulness. And when because of this he was regarded with reverence and astonishment by all, he was not found on that account, as commonly happens, more arrogant, but rather quiet and subdued in all meekness.[148] Not impatient of rule, not shunning discipline, not averse from reading, not, therefore, eager for games -- so especially dear to the heart of boys of that age. And he advanced beyond all of his own age[149] in that learning, at least, which suited his years. For in discipline of morals and advance in virtues in a short time he even outshone all his instructors.[150] His unction,[151] however, rather than his mother, was his teacher. Urged by it he exercised himself not slothfully also in divine things, to seek solitude, to anticipate vigils,[152] to meditate in the law,[153] to eat sparingly, to pray frequently, and (because on account of his studies he had not leisure to frequent the church, and from modesty would not) to lift up holy hands everywhere[154] to heaven; but only where it could be done secretly -- for already he was careful to avoid vainglory, that poison of virtues.[155]

2. There is a hamlet near the city in which the boy studied,[156] whither his teacher was wont to go often, accompanied by him alone. When they were going there both together, as he related afterwards, he would step back, stop a moment,[157] and standing behind his teacher, when he was not aware of it, spread forth his hands toward heaven,[158] and quickly send forth a prayer, as if it were a dart; and, thus dissembling, once more would follow the teacher. By such a pious trick the boy often deceived him who was his companion as well as teacher. It is not possible to mention all the qualities which adorned his earlier years with the hue of a good natural disposition; we must hasten to greater and more useful matters. One further incident, however, I relate because, in my judgement, it yielded a sign, not only of good, but also of great hope in the boy. Roused once on a time by the reputation of a certain teacher, famous in the studies which are called liberal, he went to him desiring to learn. For indeed he was now grasping after the last opportunities of boyhood, and was longing eagerly for such learning. But when he went into the house he saw the man playing with an awl, and with rapid strokes making furrows in the wall in some strange fashion. And shocked at the bare sight, because it smacked of levity, the serious boy dashed away from him, and did not care even to see him from that time forward. Thus, though an avid student of letters, as a lover of virtue he esteemed them lightly in comparison with that which was becoming. By such preliminary exercises the boy was being prepared for the conflict which awaited him in more advanced[159] age; and already in his own person he was challenging the adversary. Such, then, was the boyhood of Malachy. Moreover he passed through his adolescence with like simplicity and purity; except that as years increased, there increased also for him wisdom and favour with God and man.[160]

3. From this time, that is, from his early adolescence, what was in the man[161] began to appear more plainly, and it came to be seen that the grace of God which was in him was not in vain.[162] For the industrious young man,[163] seeing how the world lieth in wickedness,[164] and considering what sort of spirit he had received, said within himself, "It is not the spirit of this world.[165] What have the two in common?[166] One has no communion with the other any more than light with darkness.[167] But my spirit is of God, and I know the things that are freely given me[168] in it. From it I have innocence of life till now, from it the ornament of continence, from it hunger for righteousness,[169] from it also that glory of mine, by so much more secure because it is more secret, the testimony of my conscience.[170] None of these is safe for me under the prince of this world.[171] Then, I have this treasure in an earthen vessel.[172] I must take heed lest it should strike against something and be broken, and the oil of gladness[173] which I carry be poured out. And in truth it is most difficult not to strike against something amid the stones and rocks of this crooked and winding way and life.[174] Must I thus in a moment lose together all the blessings of goodness with which I have been prevented[175] from the beginning? Rather do I resign them, and myself with them, to Him from whom they come. Yea, and I am His. I lose my very soul[176] for a time that I may not lose it for ever. And what I am and all that I have, where can they be as safe as in the hand of their Author? Who so concerned to preserve, so powerful to hold, so faithful to restore? He will preserve in safety. He will restore in good time. Without hesitation I give myself to serve Him by His gifts. I cannot lose aught of all that I spend on my labour of piety. Perchance I may even hope for some greater boon. He who gives freely is wont to repay with usury. So it is. He will even heap up and increase virtue in my soul."[177]

So he thought -- and did; knowing that apart from deeds the thoughts of man are vanity.[178]

[Sidenote: c.1112.]

4. (3) There was a man in the city of Armagh,[179] where Malachy was brought up -- a holy man and of great austerity of life, a pitiless castigator of his body,[180] who had a cell near the church.[181] In it he abode, serving God with fastings and prayers day and night.[182] To this man Malachy betook himself to receive a rule[183] of life from him, who had condemned himself while alive to such sepulture. And note his humility. From his earliest age he had had God as his teacher -- there is no doubt of it -- in the art of holiness; and behold, he became once more the disciple of a man, himself a man meek and lowly in heart.[184] If we did not know it, by this one deed he himself gave us proof of it. Let them read this who attempt to teach what they have not learned, heaping to themselves disciples,[185] though they have never been disciples, blind leaders of the blind.[186] Malachy, taught of God,[187] none the less sought a man to be his teacher, and that carefully and wisely. By what better method, I ask, could he both give and receive a proof of his progress? If the example of Malachy is for them a very small thing,[188] let them consider the action of Paul. Did not he judge that his Gospel, though he had not received it of man but from Christ,[189] should be discussed with men, lest by any means he was running or had run in vain?[190] Where he was not confident, neither am I. If any one be thus confident[191] let him take heed lest it be not so much confidence as rashness. But these matters belong to another time.

5. Now, however, the rumour of what had happened went through the city, and it was universally stirred by this new and unexpected event. All were amazed, and wondered at his virtue, all the more because it was unusual in a rude people. You would see that then thoughts were being revealed out of the hearts of many.[192] The majority, considering the act from a human standpoint, were lamenting and grieving that a youth who was an object of love and delight to all had given himself up to such severe labours. Others, suspecting lightness on account of his age, doubted whether he would persevere, and feared a fall. Some, accusing him of rashness, were in fact highly indignant with him because he had undertaken a difficult task, beyond his age and strength, without consulting them. But without counsel he did nothing; for he had counsel from the prophet who says, It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth, and adds, He sitteth alone and keepeth silence because he hath borne it upon him.[193] The youth sat at the feet of Imar (for that was the man's name) and either learned obedience[194] or showed that he had learnt it. He sat as one that was at rest, as meek, as humble. He sat and kept silence,[195] knowing, as the prophet says, that silence is the ornament of righteousness.[196] He sat as one that perseveres, he was silent as one that is modest, except that by that silence of his he was speaking, with holy David, in the ears of God: I am a youth and despised, yet do not I forget thy precepts.[197] And for a time he sat alone, because he had neither companion nor example; for who before Malachy even thought of attempting the most severe discipline inculcated by the man? It was held by all indeed to be wonderful, but not imitable. Malachy showed that it was imitable by the mere act of sitting and keeping silence. In a few days he had imitators not a few, stirred by his example. So he who at first sat alone[198] and the only son of his father, became now one of many, from being the only-begotten[199] became the firstborn among many brethren.[200] And as he was before them in conversion,[201] so was he more sublime than they in conversation; and he who came before all, in the judgement of all was eminent above all in virtue. And he seemed both to his bishop[202] and to his teacher,[203] worthy to be promoted to the degree of deacon. And they constrained him.[204]

[Sidenote: 1119(?)]

[Sidenote: 1120.]

6. (4) From this time onwards the Levite[205] of the Lord publicly girded himself to every work of piety, but more especially to those things in which there seemed some indignity. In fact it was his greatest care to attend to the burial of the dead poor,[206] because that savoured not less of humility than of humanity. Nor did temptation fail to test our modern Tobit,[207] and, as in the old story, it came from a woman,[208] or rather from the serpent through a woman.[209] His sister,[210] abhorring the indignity (as it seemed to her) of his office, said: "What are you doing, madman? Let the dead bury their dead."[211] And she attacked him daily with this reproach.[212] But he answered the foolish woman according to her folly,[213] "Wretched woman, you preserve the sound of the pure word,[214] but you are ignorant of its force." So he maintained with devotion, and exercised unweariedly the ministry which he had undertaken under compulsion. For that reason also they[215] deemed that the office of the priesthood should be conferred upon him. And this was done. But when he was ordained priest he was about twenty-five years old.[216] And if in both his ordinations the rule of the Canons seems to have been somewhat disregarded -- as indeed does seem to have been the case, for he received the Levitical ministry before his twenty-fifth, and the dignity of the priesthood before his thirtieth year[217] -- it may well be ascribed to the zeal of the ordainer and the merits of him who was ordained.[218] But for my part, I consider that such irregularity should neither be condemned in the case of a saint, nor deliberately claimed by him who is not a saint. Not content with this the bishop also committed to him his own authority[219] to sow the holy seed[220] in a nation which was not holy,[221] and to give to a people rude and living without law,[222] the law of life and of discipline. He received the command with all alacrity, even as he was fervent in spirit,[223] not hoarding up his talents, but eager for profit from them.[224] And behold he began to root out with the hoe of the tongue, to destroy, to scatter,[225] day by day making the crooked straight and the rough places plain.[226] He rejoiced as a giant to run everywhere.[227] You might call him a consuming fire burning the briers of crimes.[228] You might call him an axe or a mattock casting down[229] evil plantings.[230] He extirpated barbaric rites, he planted those of the Church. All out-worn superstitions (for not a few of them were discovered) he abolished, and, wheresoever he found it, every sort of malign influence sent by evil angels.[231]

7. In fine whatsoever came to his notice which was irregular or unbecoming or perverse his eye did not spare;[232] but as the hail scatters the untimely figs from the fig-trees,[233] and as the wind the dust from the face of the earth,[234] so did he strive with all his might to drive out before his face and destroy entirely such things from his people. And in place of all these the most excellent legislator delivered the heavenly laws. He made regulations full of righteousness, full of moderation and integrity. Moreover in all churches he ordained the apostolic sanctions and the decrees of the holy fathers, and especially the customs of the holy Roman Church.[235] Hence it is that to this day there is chanting and psalmody in them at the canonical hours after the fashion of the whole world. For there was no such thing before, not even in the city.[236] He, however, had learnt singing in his youth, and soon he introduced song into his monastery,[237] while as yet none in the city, nor in the whole bishopric, could or would sing. Then Malachy instituted anew[238] the most wholesome usage of Confession,[239] the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Marriage contract -- of all of which they were either ignorant or negligent.[240] And let these serve as an example of the rest, for [here] and through the whole course of the history we omit much for the sake of brevity.

8. (5). Since he had a desire and a very great zeal for the honouring of the divine offices and the veneration of the sacraments, lest by chance he might ordain or teach anything concerning these matters otherwise than that which was in accordance with the rite of the universal Church, it came into his mind to visit Bishop Malchus,[241] that he might give him fuller information on all points. He was an old man, full of days[242] and virtues, and the wisdom of God was in him.[243] He was of Irish nationality, but had lived in England in the habit and rule of a monk in the monastery of Winchester, from which he was promoted to be bishop in Lismore,[244] a city of Munster, and one of the noblest of the cities of that kingdom. There so great grace was bestowed upon him from above that he was illustrious, not only for life and doctrine, but also for signs. Of these I set down two as examples, that it may be known to all what sort of preceptor Malachy had in the knowledge of holy things. He healed a boy, who was troubled with a mental disorder, one of those who are called lunatics, in the act of confirming him with the holy unction. This was so well known and certain that he soon made him porter of his house, and the boy lived in good health in that office till he reached manhood. He restored hearing to one who was deaf; in which miracle the deaf person acknowledged a wonderful fact, that when the saint put his fingers into his ears on either side he perceived that two things like little pigs came out of them. For these and other such deeds, his fame increased and he won a great name; so that Scots[245] and Irish flowed together to him and he was reverenced by all as the one father of all.

[Sidenote: 1121]

When therefore Malachy, having received the blessing of Father Imar, and having been sent by the bishop,[246] came to him, after a prosperous journey, he was kindly received by the old man; and he remained with him for some years,[247] in order that by staying so long he might draw fuller draughts from his aged breast, knowing that which is written, With the ancient is wisdom.[248] But I suppose that another cause of his long sojourn was that the great Foreseer of all things would have His servant Malachy become known to all in a place to which so many resorted, since he was to be useful to all. For he could not but be dear to those who knew him. In fact one thing happened in that period, by which in some measure he made manifest to men what had been known to God as being in him.

[Sidenote: 1127]

9. A conflict having taken place between the king of South Munster[249] -- which is the southern part of Ireland -- and his brother,[250] and the brother being victorious, the king, driven from his kingdom, sought refuge with Bishop Malchus.[251] It was not, however, in order that with his help he should recover the kingdom; but rather the devout prince gave place unto wrath[252] and made a virtue of necessity,[253] choosing to lead a private life. And when the bishop was preparing to receive the king with due honour, he declined it, saying that he preferred to be as one of those poor brothers who consorted with him, to lay aside his royal state, and to be content with the common poverty, rather to await the will of God than to get back his kingdom by force; and that he would not for his earthly honour shed man's blood,[254] since it would cry unto God against him from the ground.[255] When he heard this the bishop rejoiced greatly, and with admiration for his devotion satisfied his desire. Why more? The king is given a poor house for his dwelling, Malachy for his teacher, bread with salt and water for his food. Moreover for dainties, the presence of Malachy, his life and doctrine, were sufficient for the king; so that he might say to him, How sweet are thy words unto my taste, yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.[256] Besides, every night he watered his couch with his tears,[257] and also with a daily bath of cold water he quenched the burning lust for evil in his flesh. And the king prayed in the words of another king, Look upon my affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.[258] And God did not turn away his prayer nor His mercy from him.[259] And his supplication was heard,[260] although otherwise than he had desired. For he was troubled about his soul; but God, the avenger of innocence, willing to show men that there is a remainder for the man of peace,[261] was preparing meanwhile to execute a judgement for the oppressed,[262] which was utterly beyond his hope. And God stirred up the spirit of a neighbouring king:[263] for Ireland is not one kingdom, but is divided into many. This king therefore seeing what had been done, was filled with wrath; and indignant, on the one hand, at the freedom of the raiders and the insolence of the proud, and on the other, pitying the desolation of the kingdom and the downfall of the king, he went down to the cell of the poor man; urged him to return, but did not succeed in persuading him. He was instant, nevertheless, pledged himself to help him, assured him that he need not doubt the result, promised that God would be with him, whom all his adversaries would not be able to resist.[264] He laid before him also the oppression of the poor and the devastation of his country; yet he prevailed not.

10. But when to these arguments were added the command of the bishop[265] and the advice of Malachy -- the two men on whom he wholly depended -- at length, with difficulty, he consented. A king followed a king, and according to the word of the king,[266] as was the will in heaven,[267] the marauders were driven out with absolute ease, and the man was led back to his own, with great rejoicing of his people, and was restored to his kingdom. From that time the king loved and always reverenced Malachy; so much the more because he had learned more fully in the holy man the things that were worthy of reverence and affection. For he could not be ignorant of the holiness of him with whom he had enjoyed so much intimacy in his adversity. Therefore he honoured him the more in his prosperity with constant acts of friendship, and faithful services, and he heard him gladly, and when he heard him did many things.[268] But enough of this. Nevertheless I suppose it was not without purpose that the Lord so magnified him then before kings,[269] but he was a chosen vessel unto Him, about to bear His name before kings and princes.[270]


[134] Malachy was born in 1095, before November. See below, p.130. n.2.

[135] Urbanum, citizen-like.

[136] Eph. ii.19.

[137] Deut. xxxii.13.

[138] A.T. make the curious statement that "Mael Maedoc o Mongair and his father Mughron" died in 1102. This is perhaps sufficient evidence that Malachy's father was Mughron Ua Morgair, who according to A.U. was ard fer legind (chief professor) at Armagh, and died at Mungret, Co. Limerick, on October 5, 1102. Malachy was then only seven or eight years of age. Thus we may account for the large part taken by his mother in his early education. But a poem attributed to Malachy (L.B. 88) calls his father Dermot. The form of the surname varies. It is usually written Ua Morgair; but A.T., A.I. (Ua Mongain), L.B. (l.c.), and the Yellow Book of Lecan (T.C.D. MS. H.2.16, p.327 c), have Ua Mongair. The form Ua Morgair is certainly right, for it appears in the contemporary Book of Leinster (R.I.A. xxxv.355-360); and Ua Mongair obviously arose out of it through confusion of the similar letters r and n. The name must have been unfamiliar, if it had not died out, when the mistake was made. Therefore we may accept Colgan's statement that the family was known as O'Dogherty in his day (Trias, p.299). If so, they had probably only resumed an earlier surname: for according to MacFirbis (Royal Irish Academy MS.23 P.1, p.698) Malachy was of the same stock as St. Mael Brigte, son of Tornan. The latter, as well as the O'Doghertys, were of the race of Conall Gulban (Adamnan, Genealogy opp. p.342).

[139] 2 Sam. vii.9.

[140] It is interesting to note the emphasis laid by St. Bernard on the influence of Malachy's mother on his life. How much he himself owed to his mother Aleth is well known. See V.P. i.1, 2, 9, 10. Malachy's mother was probably a member of the family of O'Hanratty. See below, p.27, n.2.

[141] Prov. viii.22.

[142] Ps. xvi.11.

[143] Ps. xxxiv.11.

[144] The description of Malachy's boyhood by St. Bernard may be compared with that given of his own boyhood in V.P. i.3. It was written before the Life of Malachy.

[145] Neh. ix.20; Ps. cxliii.10.

[146] Ecclus. xv.2, 3 (vg.).

[147] 2 Cor. xii.6.

[148] Eph. iv.2.

[149] Gal. i.14.

[150] Ps. cxix.99.

[151] 1 John ii.20.

[152] Ps. lxxvii.4 (vg.).

[153] Ps. i.2.

[154] 1 Tim. ii.8.

[155] Virus uirtutum.

[156] Armagh. See Sec.4.

[157] Cp. Virg. Aen. vi.465.

[158] 1 Kings viii.22, 54.

[159] Fortiori.

[160] Luke ii.40, 52.

[161] John ii.25.

[162] 1 Cor. xv.10.

[163] 1 Kings xi.28.

[164] 1 John v.19.

[165] 1 Cor. ii.12.

[166] Cp. John ii.4 (vg.).

[167] 2 Cor. vi.14.

[168] 1 Cor. ii.12.

[169] Cp. Matt. v.6.

[170] 2 Cor. i.12 (vg.).

[171] John xiv.30, etc.

[172] 2 Cor. iv.7.

[173] Ps. xlv.7.

[174] Collect of Mass for Travellers.

[175] Ps. xxi.3.

[176] Matt. x.39.

[177] Ps. cxxxviii.3 (vg.).

[178] Ps. xciv.11.

[179] His name was Imar (Sec.5). He was no doubt Imar O'Hagan, who founded the monastery of St. Paul and St. Peter at Armagh, and built a stone church for it which was consecrated on October 21, 1126. It was placed, either at its foundation or subsequently, under the rule of the regular canons of St. Augustine. Imar died on pilgrimage at Rome in 1134, and is commemorated in Gorman on August 13, and in Usuard on November 12. He was at this time evidently leading the life of an anchoret. Reeves (Churches, p.28) inferred from his Christian name that he had some Danish blood in his veins. There is no certain indication of Malachy's age when he became his disciple. But he had reached adolescence (Sec.3), and was old enough to choose his own teachers (Sec.2). In 1112 he was seventeen years of age. We shall see that he long acknowledged Imar as his master: Secs.5, 6, 8, 12, 14, 16.

[180] 1 Cor. ix.27 (vg.).

[181] That is, apparently, the great stone church (daimliac mor), on which Cellach put a shingle roof in 1125. According to Reeves (Churches, pp.14, 28) it was probably on the site of the present Cathedral, from which the Abbey of St. Paul and St. Peter was distant 130 yards to the north. It was the principal church of Armagh till 1268. For an account of the life of such recluses as Imar the reader may be referred to B. MacCarthy, Codex Palatino-Vaticanus No.830, p.5 f.

[182] Luke ii.37.

[183] Formam. The word, as used by St. Bernard, seems to include the two notions of rule and example. It would seem that Malachy received some sort of monastic rule from Imar. Cp. Sec.7, "his monastery," and the reference to "the first day of his conversion" in Sec.43. Both passages imply that he belonged to a religious order. So in Sec.5 he is said to have been before the other disciples of Imar "in conversion." On later occasions he was subject to Imar's "command" (Secs.14, 16). It is not improbable that the disciples who gathered round Imar were the nucleus of the community which he founded at Armagh (note 1). If so, the inference is reasonable that Malachy became a regular canon of St. Augustine.

[184] Matt. xi.29.

[185] Cp.2 Tim. iv.3.

[186] Matt. xv.14.

[187] Isa. liv.13; John vi.45.

[188] 1 Cor. iv.3.

[189] Gal. i.11, 12.

[190] Gal. ii.2.

[191] Printed text, hoc scit. I read sit with K (hec sit), and two of de Backer's MSS.

[192] Luke ii.35.

[193] Lam. iii.27, 28 (inexact quotation).

[194] Heb. v.8.

[195] The rule of silence was very strictly observed by the Cistercians. This explains the stress laid by St. Bernard, here and elsewhere, on Malachy's practice. Cp. the Preface of Philip of Clairvaux to V.P. vi.: "In truth I have learned nothing that can more effectively deserve the riches of the grace of the Lord than to sit and be silent, and always to condescend to men of low estate."

[196] Isa. xxxii.17 (vg.).

[197] Ps. cxix.141 (vg.).

[198] Lam. iii.28.

[199] John i.14, 18.

[200] Rom. viii.29.

[201] The technical word for entry into a religious order.

[202] Cellach, archbishop of Armagh (Sec.19), son of Aedh, and grandson of Maelisa, who was abbot of Armagh 1064-1091. He was born early in 1080. Of his childhood and youth we know nothing, for the statement of Meredith Hanmer (Chron. of Ireland (1633), p.101) that he is said to have been "brought up at Oxford" is probably as inaccurate as other assertions which he makes about him. Cellach was elected abbot of Armagh in August, 1105, and in the following month (September 23) he received Holy Orders. In 1106, while engaged on a visitation of Munster, he was consecrated bishop. Thus he departed from the precedent set by his eight predecessors, who were without orders (Sec.19). He was one of the leaders of the Romanizing party in Ireland, and attended the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1110 (Keating, iii.307). He died in his fiftieth year, at Ardpatrick, in co. Limerick, on April 1, 1129, and was buried on April 4 at Lismore. These facts are mainly gathered from the Annals. For more about Cellach, see p. xxxiv.

[203] Imar. See above p.11, n.1.

[204] Luke xxiv.29. -- Malachy can hardly have been more, he was probably less, than twenty-three years of age at this time. See p.16, n.2.

[205] I.e. deacon.

[206] It does not appear that deacons as such were specially concerned with the burial of the dead. The present passage, indeed, implies the contrary. Malachy was made deacon against his will; his care for the dead poor is mentioned as a work of piety, voluntarily superadded to the duties of his office. His sister (see below) would have been unlikely to ask him to abandon a practice which he could not decline. But there was ancient precedent for a deacon engaging in such work, of which Malachy may have been aware. At Alexandria throughout the persecution of Valerian, one of the deacons, Eusebius by name, not without danger to himself, prepared for burial the bodies of "the perfect and blessed martyrs" (Eus., H.E. vii.11.24).

[207] Tobiae. The Greek of the Book of Tobit, followed by the English versions, calls the father Tobit, and the son Tobias; the Vulgate calls both Tobias. The text of chap. ii. is longer in the Vulgate than in the Greek and English, and neither of the verses (Vulg.12, 23) from which St. Bernard here borrows words is represented in the latter.

[208] Tobit ii.12 (vg.).

[209] Cp. Gen. iii.12 f.

[210] She is mentioned again in Sec.11.

[211] Matt. viii.22.

[212] Tobit ii.23 (vg.).

[213] Prov. xxvi.5.

[214] Ps. xii.6.

[215] Cellach and Imar.

[216] Malachy completed his twenty-fifth year in 1120. See p.130, n.2. For the date of his ordination to the priesthood see p.16, n.2.

[217] For the canons of councils which regulated the minimum age of deacons and priests reference may be made to the article "Orders, Holy," by the late Dr. Edwin Hatch in the Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, vol. ii. p.1482 f. From a very early date they were respectively twenty-five and thirty years, in accordance with the statement of the text, though there were some exceptions in remote places. The eighth-century Irish Canons, known as the Hibernensis, prescribe the same minimum ages for the diaconate and presbyterate, and add a clause, the gist of which seems to be that a bishop at the time of his consecration must be thirty or forty years of age (Wasserschleben, Irische Kanonesammlung, 1885, p.8). As late as the year 1089, at the Council of Melfi, presided over by Pope Urban II., it was decreed (can.5, Mansi, xx.723) that none should be admitted deacon under twenty-four or twenty-five years of age, or priest under thirty. But at the Council of Ravenna, 1315 (can.2, ibid. xxv.537), the ages were lowered to twenty and twenty-five respectively.

[218] Cellach would hardly have understood the need for this apology. It is more than probable that he was ignorant of the canons referred to. He himself was ordained, apparently to the priesthood, in 1105, when he was under twenty-six, and consecrated bishop in 1106, when he was under twenty-seven years of age. St. Bernard himself seems to have been ordained priest when he was about twenty-five years old (Vacandard, i.67).

[219] In other words he made him his vicar. This may well have been in 1120; for the Annals record that in that year Cellach made a visitation of Munster. It was quite natural that during a prolonged absence from his see he should leave its administration in the hands of one who had proved himself so capable as Malachy. And we shall see that this date harmonizes with other chronological data. If, then, we place the beginning of Malachy's vicariate in 1120, his ordination as priest, which appears to have been not much earlier, may be dated in 1119, when he was "about twenty-five years of age," i.e. probably soon after his twenty-fourth birthday. His admission to the diaconate may be placed at least a year earlier, i.e. in 1118. Indeed, if we could be sure that in Ireland the normal interval between admission to the diaconate and to the priesthood was at all as long as in other countries we might put it further back.

[220] Luke viii.5.

[221] 1 Pet. ii.9.

[222] Rom. ii.12.

[223] Rom. xii.11.

[224] Cp. Matt. xxv.24 ff.

[225] Jer. i.10 (vg.).

[226] Isa. xl.4.

[227] Ps. xix.5.

[228] Cp. Isa. x.17.

[229] Ps. lxxiv.6 (vg.).

[230] Cp. Ignatius, Trall. 11.

[231] Ps. lxxviii.49 (vg.: inexact quotation).

[232] Ezek. v.11, etc.

[233] Cp. Rev. vi.13.

[234] Ps. i.4 (vg.).

[235] Malachy acted in accordance with the aims of Gilbert, bishop of Limerick, who about the year 1108, wrote these words (De Usu Ecclesiastico, in Ussher, 500): "I have endeavoured to describe the canonical custom in saying the hours and performing the office of the whole ecclesiastical order ... to the end that the various and schismatical orders, with which almost the whole of Ireland has been deluded, may give place to the one Catholic and Roman office."

[236] Armagh.

[237] This was probably the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul. See p.11, n.5. J. de Backer's suggestion (AA.SS., Nov. ii.1, p.147), that "his monastery" was Bangor is negatived by the whole context, which refers only to Armagh.

[238] The word "anew" (de nouo) seems to indicate St. Bernard's belief that it was only in comparatively recent times that the usages to which he refers had fallen into desuetude.

[239] It is interesting to observe that Confession is here not ranked as a sacrament.

[240] For the statements in this section see Additional Note A.

[241] Mael Isa Ua hAinmire, who is always called Malchus in Latin documents, though a native of Ireland, had been a monk of Winchester, as we are here told. He was elected first bishop of the Danish colony of Waterford in 1096, and was consecrated by Anselm, assisted by the bishops of Chichester and Rochester, at Canterbury on December 28, having previously made his profession of obedience to the archbishop as one of his suffragans (Eadmer, p.76 f.; Ussher, pp.518, 565). He signed the Acts of the Synod of Rathbreasail in 1110 as archbishop of Cashel (Keating, iii.307). He had probably been translated to that see shortly after its foundation in 1106 (see below, p.65, n.4). The Synod of Rathbreasail enlarged the Danish diocese of Waterford by adding to it an extensive non-Danish area, which included the ancient religious site of Lismore, on which St. Carthach or Mochuta had founded a community in the early part of the seventh century (Lanigan, ii.353). The Synod decreed that the see of this diocese should be either at Lismore or at Waterford, apparently giving preference to the former (see p. xlvii). It would seem that after organizing the diocese of Cashel Malchus retired to his former "parish," just as at a later date Malachy retired from Armagh to Down (Sec.31), placing his see at Lismore. There, at any rate, he was established when Malachy visited him, and there he died in 1135 "after the 88th year of his pilgrimage" (A.F.M.). An attempt has been made to distinguish Mael Isa Ua hAinmire from the Malchus of the text (Lanigan, iv.74), but without success. It is interesting to observe that both A.F.M. and A.T. style him bishop of Waterford in the record of his death.

[242] Gen. xxxv.29; 1 Chron. xxiii.1; Job xlii.16. -- Malchus was in his 75th year when Malachy visited him in 1121. See preceding note, and p.20, n.3.

[243] 1 Kings iii.28.

[244] An error for Waterford. It is explained by, and confirms, the suggestion that Malchus transferred the see to Lismore.

[245] Throughout the Life, Scotia is used, in its later sense, for the country now called Scotland; and here the Scots are evidently its inhabitants. But traces of earlier usage remain in Sec.14, "a Scotic (i.e. Irish) work," Sec.61 "We are Scots," and Sec.72 where Ireland is called "further Scotland" (ulterior Scotia).

[246] Cellach. Note Imar's share in the matter, and cp. p.11, n.1.

[247] Malachy must have been the archbishop's vicar for a considerable time if the account of his labours in that capacity (Sec.7) is not grossly exaggerated. Hence, if his vicariate began in 1119 or 1120 his departure for Lismore can hardly have been earlier than 1121; and as he spent "some years" there before he was raised to the episcopate (1124; see Sec.16), it cannot have been later. Samuel O'Hanley, bishop of Dublin, died on July 4, 1121, and Cellach at once made an attempt, which proved unsuccessful, to take possession of the vacant see. Samuel's successor, Gregory, was duly elected, and was consecrated at Lambeth on October 2. (O.C.C. p.31; A.U. 1121; John of Worcester, ed. J. H. R. Weaver, 1908, p.16; Ussher, 532). It may have been in August or September, on the return of Cellach from Dublin, that Malachy was released from his office and went to Lismore.

[248] Job xii.12.

[249] I read rex australis Mumoniae, for rex Mumoniae in the printed text, restoring the word australis from two of de Backer's MSS. The king is said in Sec.18 to have been Cormac, i.e. Cormac Mac Carthy, son of Teague Mac Carthy, who succeeded his father as king of Desmond (South Munster) in 1124. He was never king of the whole of Munster. That he went to Lismore in 1121 is very probable. For the Annals tell us that in that year Turlough O'Conor, king of Connaught, invaded Desmond, and "arrived at the termon of Lismore" (A.I. say that he destroyed Lismore, which can hardly be true). What more likely than that one of the sons of Teague, the reigning monarch of Desmond, should fly before that formidable warrior to the sanctuary of Mochuta? But St. Bernard errs in supposing that he was then king of Desmond. On Cormac, see also p.43, n.5.

[250] Donough Mac Carthy. See next note. There is a brief notice of him in Tundale, p.42.

[251] That the narrative of this and the following section is historical, but that St. Bernard has misplaced it, is proved by the following extract from A.T. under the year 1127: "A hosting by Toirdelbach, king of Ireland [really of Connaught], till he reached Corcach, he himself on land and his fleet at sea going round to Corcach, ravaging Munster by sea and by land so that he drove Cormac mac meic Carthaig into Lismore in pilgrimage. And Toirdelbach divided Munster into two parts, the southern half [Desmond] to Donnchad mac meic Carthaig; and the northern half [Thomond] to Conchobar o Briain.... Cormac mac meic Carthaig came from his pilgrimage, and made an alliance with Conchobar o Briain and with all the men of Muma, save those of Tuathmuma. Donnchad mac meic Carthaig came from them -- for he was not in the alliance -- with 2000 men."

The other Annals have notices to the same effect. These events occurred in 1127, three years after Malachy returned from his long stay at Lismore, and was made bishop of Connor (Sec.16). If he had the part which is ascribed to him in the restoration of Cormac, he must therefore have paid two visits to Lismore, which St. Bernard has confounded. That he was in the south of Ireland for a considerable time prior to 1129 will appear later (p.40, n.2).

[252] Rom. xii.19.

[253] Necessitatem in uirtutem conuertit. Apparently a proverbial expression. Cp. Quintilian Declam. iv.10: "Faciamus potius de fine remedium, de necessitate solatium"; Jer. Adv. Rufin. iii.2: "Habeo gratiam quod facis de necessitate uirtutem"; Ep. 54.6 (Hilberg): "Arripe, quaeso, occasionem et fac de necessitate uirtutem." Chaucer's "To maken vertu of necessitee" is well known (Knightes Tale, 3042, Squieres Tale, 593, Troilus and Criseyde, iv.1586).

[254] Gen. ix.6.

[255] Gen. iv.10.

[256] Ps. cxix.103.

[257] Ps. vi.6 (vg.).

[258] Ps. xxiv.18.

[259] Ps. lxvi.20.

[260] Ecclus. li.11.

[261] Ps. xxxvii.37 (vg.).

[262] Ps. cxlvi.7.

[263] 2 Chron. xxxvi.22. -- Conor O'Brien. See p.21, n.3. It appears from the last sentence of the passage there quoted that Donough MacCarthy, to whom Turlough O'Conor had given the kingdom of Desmond, had driven out O'Brien from Thomond. This explains the anxiety of the latter to make alliance with Cormac. His action was less disinterested than St. Bernard represents it.

[264] Luke xxi.15.

[265] Malchus.

[266] Judas Maccabaeus.

[267] 1 Macc. iii.60.

[268] Mark vi.20.

[269] Ps. cxix.46.

[270] Acts ix.15.

Top of Page
Top of Page