St. David, patron of Wales, was the first bishop of Menevia. He was the son of a prince of South Wales, and established 12 monasteries in his province, where the austerities of the ancient solitaries of the eastern deserts were exercised with great fervour. He reformed the ecclesiastical discipline of the ancient British Church. He died in 544.
The holy Father David prescribed an austere system of monastic observance, requiring every monk to toil daily at manual labour and to lead a common life. So with unflagging zeal they work with hand and foot, they put the yoke to their own shoulders, and in their own holy hands, they bear the tools for labour in the fields. So by their own strength they procure every necessity for the community, while refusing possessions and detesting riches. They make no use of oxen for ploughing. Everyone is rich to himself and to the brethren, every man is his own ox.
When the field work is done they return to the enclosure of the monastery, to pass their time till evening at reading, writing, or in prayer. Then when the signal is heard for evening prayer everyone leaves what he is at and in silence, without any idle conversation, they make their way to church. When, with heart and voice attuned, they have completed the psalmody, they remain on their knees until stars appearing in the heaven bring day to its close; yet when all have gone, the father remains there alone making his own private prayer for the well-being of the church.
Shedding daily abundance of tears, offering daily his sweet-scented sacrifice of praise, aglow with an intensity of love, he consecrated with pure hands the fitting oblation of the Lord’s body, and so, at the conclusion of the morning offices, attaining alone to the converse of angels. Then the whole day was spent undaunted and untired, in teaching, praying, on his knees, caring for the brethren, and for orphans and children, and widows, and everyone in need, for the weak and the sick, for travellers and in feeding many. The rest of this stern way of life would be profitable to imitate, but the shortness of this account forbids our entering upon it, but in every way his life was ordered in imitation of the monks of Egypt.
Concéde nobis, omnipotens Deus, ut beáti David Confessóris tui atque Pontíficis pia intercéssio nos prótegat, et dum ejus solémnia cebrámus, in cathólica tuénda fide firmitátem imitémur.
Grant, we implore You, almighty God, that the loving intercession of blessed David, Your confessor and bishop, may protect us, and that, while we celebrate his festival we may imitate his steadfastness in the defence of the Catholic faith.