Dewi Sant, as he is known in the Welsh language, was born in the 5th Century in a little house outside the tiny city on the West coast of Wales which today bears his name. His mother was called Non, and David was born 9 months after Non was raped by a local chieftain.
As he grew, David showed great interest in the Gospel. He trained under St. Paulinius, a converted Roman centurion. He also trained for a while at the early university set up in Llantwit Major (Llanilltyd Fawr) by another converted centurion, St. Illtyd. Paulinius was blind. One day, David prayed for him and laid hands on him, and Paulinius’s sight was restored. The first thing that Paulinius saw was a beautiful bunch of daffodils, which became the national symbol for Wales. David traveled throughout Wales preaching the Gospel. On one occasion, the crowd was so great that he placed a small cloth on the ground and stood on it. Immediately, the ground rose into a small hill, so that David could see and project his voice over the crowd, so that all could hear. While he was preaching, a white dove was seen to be settled on his shoulder, indicating the power of the Holy Spirit in his preaching. He was also concerned about the truth of Scripture, being tireless in his denunciation of another Celtic preacher, Pelagius.
His last sermon was on Sunday February 27th 589AD. In that sermon, he said “Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.” “Do the little things in life” became a popular saying among the Welsh (“Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd”)
Today, the lives of the Celtic saints, such as David, are being misused for false ecumenical and mystical purposes. The true Celtic spirituality seems so much more attractive to me. It includes firm adherance to the doctrines of the Bible, and opposition to error (like Pelagianism). It includes great personal sacrifice, and much travel to spread the Gospel to new places. And it involves the ministry of signs and wonders, through the power of the Holy Spirit. True Celtic spirituality was evangelical, evangelistic and charismatic. We don’t need the ecumenical New Age mysticism that passes for Celtic spirituality in so many places. But we do need the real thing, as demonstrated in the life of St. David of Wales.