He founded twelve monasteries, known for their strict rule. David lived a very simple life and possessed very little. He ate one meal a day, and despite that, fasted frequently. He embraced manual labor.
The only thing he ever drank was water, and so he became known as David the Waterman.
While he possessed nothing and lived according to extremely strict disciplines, he was a very joyful man. It seems that mostly, when I read about saints who lived such disciplined lives, I realize that they didn’t seem all that happy. In renouncing the world, they gave up a lot because they knew Christ was all they needed. Fair enough. But I rarely read stories that show they were joyful.
I sometimes wonder if we aren’t joyful enough. It seems that the “holiest” people sometimes are the ones who mope around and rarely smile.
But St. David shows us that we can do both: we can both sacrifice and be joyful. And so we should.
His dying words were: “Brothers and sisters: be joyful!” But it’s a message he preached throughout his life. It was a message that needed to be heard, and must be heard now.
St. David is frequently pictured with a dove on his shoulder while standing on a hill. Stories suggest that when preaching, a dove landed on his shoulder and lifeted him up quite a ways so that his message could be heard by more people.