Skip to comments.Apr 21, Feast of St Anselm, Benedictine [his life; what a follower of St Benedict accomplished]
Posted on 04/20/2005 10:31:28 PM PDT by Mike Fieschko
Following is the life of this saint, from the breviary.net page for April 21.
Included not only for the edification it inspires, but to understand in a small way, the significance of the new pope's choice of 'Benedict' for his name.
Anselmus, Augustæ Prætóriæ in fínibus Italiæ, Gundulpho et Ermemberga nobilibus et catholicis paréntibus natus, a teneris annis assiduo litterárum studio atque perfectioris vitæ desiderio, non obscurum futuræ sanctitátis et doctrinæ specimen dedit. Et licet juvenili ardore aliquando ad sæculi illécebras traherétur, brevi tamen in prístinam viam revocatus, patria et bonis ómnibus derelictis, ad monastérium Beccense ordinis sancti Benedicti se cóntulit ; ubi, emissa regulari professióne, sub Herluíno abbate observantíssimo et Lanfranco viro doctíssimo, tanto animi fervore et jugi studio in litteris et virtútibus assequéndis profecit, ut mirum in modum tamquam sanctitátis et doctrinæ exemplar ab ómnibus haberétur.
Anselm was born of noble and Catholic parents, named Gundulph and Hermenberga, at Aosta, in Piedmont. From his tenderest years his diligence in study, and his aspirations to a more perfect state of life, gave no indistinct foreshadowing of the holiness and learning to which he afterwards attained. The heat of youth drew him for a while into the snares of the world, but he soon returned to his first courses, and, forsaking his own country and his goods, betook himself to the monastery of Bec, under the rule of St. Benedict. There he made his profession as a monk, and under the rigid discipline of Herluin, the Abbot, and the learned instruction of the profound Lanfranc, with great zeal of spirit and eager obedience to the Rule, he made such progress in learning and godliness, that he shone before all others as an ensample of holiness of life, and power of doctrine.
Abstinéntiæ et continéntiæ tantæ fuit, ut assiduitate jejunii omnis pene cibórum sensus in eo viderétur exstinctus. Diurno enim témpore in exercitiis monasticis docendo, et respondéndo variis de religióne quæsitis emenso ; quod réliquum erat noctis, somno subtrahebat, ut divinis meditatiónibus, quas perenni lacrimárum imbre fovebat, mentem recrearet. Electus in priórem monasterii ínvidos fratres ita caritate, humilitate et prudéntia lenívit, ut quos æmulos acceperat, sibi et Deo amicos, máximo cum regularis observantiæ emolumento, redderet. Mortuo abbate, et in ejus locum, licet invitus, suffectus, tanta doctrinæ et sanctitátis fama ubique refulsit, ut non modo régibus et epíscopis veneratióni esset, sed sancto Gregório septimo etiam acceptus, qui tunc magnis persecutiónibus agitatus, litteras amoris plenas ad eum dedit, quibus se et Ecclésiam catholicam ejus oratiónibus commendabat.
Mortification and purity were his marked characteristics, and by constant fasting all taste for food seemed to have died in him. He spent the day in the monastic work, in teaching, and in answering hard questions upon religion, and he took away from sleep during what remained to him of the night, that he might refresh his soul by thoughts of God, wherein he was alway comforted by an unceasing flow of tears. When he was chosen Prior of the monastery, he so won over, by his charity, loweliness, and wisdom, some brethren who looked ill upon him, that from enviers, as he had found them, he turned them into lovers of God and of himself likewise, with exceeding gain to the strictness of observance in that Abbey. After the death of the Abbot, Anselm, though against his own will, was chosen to succeed him. In this high place the light of his learning and holiness so shone all round about, that he was reverenced not only by Kings and Bishops, but was taken up by the holy Pope Gregory VII, who, amid the great persecutions which were then trying him, wrote with words of great love to Anselm to recommend himself and the Catholic Church to his prayers.
Defunctus Lanfranco archiepiscopo Cantuariénsi, ejus olim præcéptore, Anselmus, urgénte Willelmo Angliæ rege et instántibus clero ac pópulo, ipso tamen repugnante, ad ejusdem ecclésiæ regimen vocatus, statim (ut corruptos pópuli mores reformaret) verbo et exemplo prius, dein scriptis, et conciliis celebratis, prístinam pietátem et ecclesiásticam disciplínam redúxit. Sed cum mox idem Willelmus rex vi et minis Ecclésiæ jura usurpare tentasset, ipse sacerdotali constántia réstitit ; bonorúmque direptiónem et exsílium passus, Romam ad Urbanum secúndum se cóntulit : a quo honorifice exceptus et summis laudibus ornatus est, cum in Barénsi concílio Spíritum Sanctum etiam a Fílio procédentem, contra Græcórum errórem, innumeris Scripturárum et sanctórum Patrum testimoniis propugnasset. E vivis Willelmo sublato, ab Henrico rege, ejus fratre, in Angliam revocatus, obdormívit in Dómino ; famam non solum miraculórum et sanctitátis (præcipue ob insignem devotiónem erga Dómini nostri passiónem et beatam Vírginem ejus Matrem) assecutus, sed etiam doctrinæ, quam ad defensiónem Christianæ religiónis, animárum profectum, et ómnium theologórum, qui sacras litteras scholastica méthodo tradidérunt, normam cælitus hausisse ex ejus libris ómnibus appáret.
After the death of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselm, whose teacher Lanfranc had formerly been, was driven by William II, King of England, supported by the entreaties of the clergy and people, though sorely against his own wishes to take upon him the government of that Church. Raised to that See he straightway set himself to reform the corrupt manners of the people, and, first by his word and example, and then by his writings and the Councils which he held, succeeded in restoring the ancient godliness and discipline of the Church. But when the aforesaid King William tried by force and threats to seize on the rights of the Church, Anselm withstood him as beseemed a Priest, and after that he had suffering the plundering of all his goods, and been sent into banishment, he betook himself to Rome to Urban II. There he was received with great worship, and won high praise for that in the Council of Bari, he maintained by countless proofs from Scripture and the holy Fathers, against the error of the Greeks, that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Son also. When William lived no more, his brother Henry I, King of England, called back Anslem thither, and there he fell asleep in the Lord. His is a name illustrious not for miracles only, nor for holiness (and indeed he had a wondrous love for his Lord who had suffered for him, and for the blessed Maiden Mother of the same our Lord), but also for the deep learning which he used for the defence of the Christian Religion and the good of souls. That wonderful knowledge of theology which he had, and which is shewn in all the books which he wrote, seemeth to have been given him from heaven for the teaching of all writers on the same subject, who have used what is called the Scholastic method.
Thanks for the ping, especially the one to Gerard's (RIP) site (the second in your list). I ran into him on the 'net maybe ten years ago.
I only wish that jmj333 were still with us!
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