Saint Anselm (1033-1109) is famous for saying many things, one that is easily recalled is “I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.” We can easily say that the Lord has give us in the person of Saint Anselm one of the most eminent figures of the Middle Ages who harmonized faith and reason. To what might we attribute this harmonization? I and some others would say it was his radical mystical experience, finely attuned sense of communio with the Trinity that oriented his thought and his action. Anselm’s contemplation and action were in sync; there was no distraction in him.
Saint Anselm knew and taught us, according to Pope Benedict, that “a true theologian’s work is divided into three stages: faith, God’s gratuitous gift to be welcomed with humility; experience, which consists in incarnating the Word of God into daily life; and true knowledge, which is never the fruit of sterile reasoning but of contemplative intuition.”
photo: Tony Bowden