Blessed Columba was one of the most popular and widely read Catholic spiritual authors of the 20th century. His writings--which were not exactly new or revolutionary, but took a refreshing, "back to basics" approach--were widely translated and distributed. Blessed Pope John Paul II himself said, "I owe more to Columba Marmion for initiating me into things spiritual than to any other spiritual writer." Now THAT'S an endorsement! How unfortunate his books aren't more widely read now...
As if to prove his own saying that "if grace does not destroy nature, neither does it suppress our personality," today's Blessed is here seen--rather unusually--without his monastic robes. It seems that he passed himself off as a cattle dealer in order to get some of his novices over to Ireland (and out of harm's way) during World War I. Traveling without papers and hoping to make his way across the Channel, the English authorities denied him entry. When asked for his passport, the abbot-in-disguise replied, "I'm Irish, and the Irish never need a passport, except to get into hell, and it isn't there that I am wanting to go." Laughing, they let him through.
I was personally quite struck when I read Marmion's, Christ, The Ideal of the Priest, a few years ago. The following passage in particular sticks with me:
You should always put on the priestly vestments with dignity. We read a story in Genesis which may help us at this moment to raise our minds to the truths of faith. In order that Jacob might venture to approach Isaac and receive his blessing, he was clothed by Rebecca in the garments of Esau. Then he said boldly to his father: Ego sum primogenitus tuus: "I am your firstborn son" (Gen 27:19). Our mother, the Church, says to us, "You are going to represent Jesus Christ, your elder brother": Primogenitus in multis fratribus [the Firstborn among many brothers] (Rom 8:29), "clothe yourself in Him": induimini Dominum Jesus Christum [put on the Lord Jesus Christ] (Rom 13:11-14). Then you can freely approach the Father. He will see in you, in spite of all your unworthiness, an alter Christus [another Christ].
--Blessed Columba Marmion, OSB (1858-1923)