Boniface was successful in getting the pagans to come to Christ, although there were still pockets of resistance that would be taken care of by others. He was successful and as bishop he gathered a large number of catechumens to receive confirmation. They were to meet in a large field and folks began arriving from distant places to celebrate and worship. On the morning of the confirmation a strange play of light from the sky at daybreak proved to be a large group of armed men bend on plunder and robbery. The catechumens armed themselves for a fight and so did the assembled clergy but history records that Boniface told them to desist. This from the translation of Willibalds “The Life of Saint Boniface” by George Robinson -“But when the man of God heard the onset of the tumultuous throng, immediately he called to his side the band of clerics, and, taking the saints’ relics which he was wont to have always with him, came out of the tent. And at once,
rebuking the attendants, he forbade combat and battle, saying: “Stop fighting, lads! Give up the battle! For we are taught by the trusty witness of Scripture, that we render not evil for evil, but contrariwise good for evil. Already the long desired day is at hand, and the voluntary time of our departure is near. Therefore be ye comforted in the Lord, and suffer with joy the grace of his permission.”
I have always wondered how the words of heroes were recorded in the midst of battles and tumult, but there you have it. Whether he said it or not the sentiment seems to be one that he adhered to all of his life and the result was that the only means of protection that Boniface used was a Bible that he held before his face. The book which was pierced by a sword. Over whelmed by the brigands he was beheaded. He is often portrayed in pictures and statutes with a book impaled upon a sword. So ended the early life of the missionary to the Germans. The Roman Church gave him the added sobriquet of patron Saint of Brewers. There must be a story there somewhere.
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