Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

May 19 | The Unexpected Life

Saint Dunstan

A.D. 909–988

Life doesn't turn out as we expect it to. 

That's true for me. That's true for you. That's true for everybody. In some ways, life exceeds our expectations. And in other ways, life disappoints our expectations. 

Sooner or later, we have to decide what we're going to do with the unexpected life that we've been given. 

That was certainly true for Saint Dunstan. He decided to embrace the adventure and wholeheartedly throw himself into whatever role God placed him in.

First, Dunstan was a young boy learning from Irish monks who lived in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. Then, he was summoned to the royal English court, to serve under King Æthelstan. When he was falsely accused of blackmagic, Dunstan was thrown into a cesspool, after which he developed a life-threatening infection. He recovered under a bishop’s watchful care and became a monk. He found an old church and dug a hermit’s cell there that was barely large enough to fit his body. It is said that the devil visited him there, and Dunstan grabbed him by the nose with a pair of tongs.

We could go on and on about Dunstan’s adventurous and unexpected life. He worked as a silversmith, a famous musician, and an artist. He became the abbot of a large monastery, then a servant to the king again, and after the king was assassinated, he became Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury. Saint Dunstan’s life was a seemingly never ending series of journeys, until it did end at the old age of 79. 

All our lives have some element of adventure in them. And all of them require us to take a step back from time to time and assess what’s going well, and what isn’t.

Here’s a question that you can use regularly in your life. It's a question that will help you work out where you are and how things are going. The question is, "Is your life working?” Usually, when you ask this question, some aspects of your life will be clearly working, and in some aspect or a couple of aspects of your life you will realize, "Wow, I really need to work on that." 

That’s the question before you today. Is your life working? And are you willing to go into the classroom of silence today for a few minutes and take an inventory of your life? Take a good, hard, honest look at who you are and where you are because it is out of that that God will call you to new and wonderful things.


I will make the most of the unexpected life.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Blacksmiths, Goldsmiths, Locksmiths, Musicians, Silversmiths, and Bellringers

Symbols: Smith's Tongs

Feast Day: May 19

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Peter Celestine V, Saint Urban I, Saints Parthenius and Calogero, Saint Ives, and Saint Crispin of Viterbo

Canonized: 1029

Canonized By: Pope John XIX

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