This saint was born around the year 500 in Britain. He set out as a young man to practice a self-sacrificing lifestyle. He did this to help himself become closer to God. Gildas was serious about his Christian commitment. He felt the responsibility to pray and sacrifice for the sins committed by the people of his times. He wrote sermons trying to convince people to give up wickedness. He encouraged them to stop their lives of scandal. Because Gildas cared so much, his writings sometimes seemed overly critical. Actually, he didn't mean to condemn anyone. He was begging people to turn to God.
Gildas was a spiritual man who lived a hermit's life. He didn't choose a quiet, prayerful life because he wanted to keep away from the world around him. He chose his life to help him grow closer to God. He was more aware than the average person of some things that were very wrong in society. Sadly, many people were not aware enough of God and his law. They did not even realize the evils that were destroying them. That is why some people in the Church-priests, bishops and laymen and women-went to Gildas for advice about deeply spiritual matters.
Toward the end of his life, Gildas lived his hermit's life on a tiny island in Brittany. Even though he wanted to be alone to prepare his soul for death, disciples followed him there. He welcomed them as a sign that the Lord wanted him to share his spiritual gifts with others.
Gildas was like the "conscience" of society. Sometimes we don't like to hear about sin, but sin is real. Sometimes we, too, are tempted to do wrong or are neglectful. Then we can say a little prayer to St. Gildas. We can ask him to obtain for us the will power to do the right thing.
How do I respond to criticism in my own life? I pray for the grace of a forgiving heart, that I may respond with the eyes of Jesus.