“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” – Romans 5:5
A Snapshot of the Life of Raymund Lull:
Born: 1232-35; Palma, Balearic Islands
Died: June 29, 1315; off coast of Algiers (Algeria)
Martyred Spanish missionary to Muslims. He was also a scholar, alchemist, mystic, and theologian. [Lull] wrote over 300 works. Converted around 1263, Lull sought to establish language schools for missionaries and also served as a missionary to Spanish Mallorca (one of the Balearic Islands) near his home, founding a Franciscan missionary school in 1276. He traveled and lectured extensively in Italy and France the next 30 years. [Lull] tried three times to preach to Muslims at Tunis
(1291), Algeria (1305), and North Africa (1314), but was imprisoned, cast out of the city twice, and finally left for dead after being savagely stoned the third time. He died on board a “rescue ship, at sea in sight of Palma. His Contemplations helped many people. – (Excerpt taken from the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies. Used by permission.)
A Spiritual Application for Our Lives:
While we would not agree with every method and belief he held, the Lord saw fit to use him in a remarkable way. Here, amidst the hostilities of the Crusades, Lull ventured forth to take the gospel to the Muslims of North Africa. His motive was Love, his message was Love, and his Master was Christ who “loved us and hath given himself for us” (Ephesians 5:2). Has Christ’s love stirred you to action?
The transforming power of Christ worked mightily in Raymund. Once captive to every wicked behavior, now Lull is captive to Christ. His prayer of surrender is both insightful and convicting:
“To Thee, Lord God, do I now offer myself and my wife and my children and all that I possess, and since I approach Thee humbly with this gift and sacrifice, may it please Thee to condescend to accept all what I give and offer up now for Thee, that I and my wife and my children may be Thy humble slaves.”
However, this prayer was not a passing whim or flimsy resolution; surrendered obedience became Raymund’s way of life. Following the light he had, Lull dedicated himself to reaching those lost in the religion of Islam. Further, Lull recognized that Allah was a loveless god; so he strived to take to them the God who is love (1 John 4:8). Love was the distinguishing characteristic of Raymund Lull. As he declared “He who loves not lives not; he who lives by the Life can not die.”
This love for Christ and neighbor burned hotly in Lull’s heart. Demonstrating love became his desire even in death. Lull prayed: “Men are wont to die, O Lord, from old age, the failure of natural warmth and excess of cold; but thus, if it be Thy will, Thy servant would not wish to die; he would prefer to die in the glow of love, even as Thou wast willing to die for him.”
Does such love characterize our lives? Do we seek to reach our enemies with the good news of salvation? May God strengthen our hearts. May we allow God to fill our hearts with His own love; then, let us demonstrate His love to all we encounter.
A Suggestion for Further Reading…
Raymund Lull: First Missionary to the Muslims – Samuel Zwemer, 1902 (2018 reprint by Faithworks Media)