Tag Archives: St Anselm

Saint Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm statue canterbury cathedral outside.jpgYou might be surprised to read this, not all theologians root their work in theology in prayer, personal and communal, of personal devotion, liturgical and lectio divina. I am somewhat confident that some Catholic theologians have a beautiful relationship with the Divine Majesty; that they care, in an intense way, about their spiritual lives through a regular practice of daily prayer, meditation, by availing themselves to the sacraments, attendance at Mass and even the daily singing of the Divine Office. However, you would never know that theologians, particularly Catholics, have rely on prayer for their work  because rarely talk about their experiences of prayer. A notable Jesuit spiritual director and writer once said that if you can’t articulate the pattern of your prayer, you aren’t praying.

Yesterday I heard Cardinal William Levada speak at More House of Yale University on a new apologetic for the new evangelization and it struck me that in addition to neglecting the role of suffering as part of framing this a new apologetic, he neglected to speak about personal and liturgical prayer. No doubt that he say you have to pray, but the absence of speaking about the place of prayer in apologetics and evangelization is telling.
Just as a priest who never prays the Divine Office, attend to the sacrament of love and Mercy, see a spiritual director, practice lectio divine, and do spiritual reading, theologians who likewise neglect these things aren’t really helping us to build a culture of prayer, study, service and community. That is, the proclamation of the gospel will be stunted.

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Saint Benedict through the eyes of Saint Anselm

c. 1437-1446

Image via Wikipedia

A reading from a sermon by St. Aelred

As today we
celebrate the passing of our holy Father Benedict, I am obliged to say
something about him, especially because I observe that you are eager to listen.
Like good sons you have come together to hear about your Father who, in Christ
Jesus, gave birth to you in the Gospel. Because we know that he has passed
beyond, let us see where he came from and where he has gone.

He came from where
we still are, of course, and he has gone on to that place to which we have not
yet come. And while we are not physically there where he has gone, we are there
in hope and love, as our Redeemer has told us: Where your treasure is, there
also is your heart. Thus the Apostle said: Our dwelling place is in heaven.
Indeed, Saint Benedict himself, while he lived physically in this world, dwelt
in thought and desire in the heavenly Fatherland.
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Saint Anselm on the Honor of God

Whoever does not pay to God his honor due Him dishonors Him and removes from Him what belongs to Him; and this removal, or dishonoring, constitutes a sin. However as long as he does not repay what he has stolen, he remains guilty.

Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Cur Deus Homo

Saint Anselm

Saint Anselm, Abbot, Bishop, Doctor of the Church (1033 – 1109)

St Anselm.jpgThis year marks the ninth centenary of the death of Saint Anselm, often referred to as the “Father of Scholasticism,” though he is one among many who are said to be the “Father of Scholasticism,” a philosophical movement which sought to express religious dogma within a philosophical framework dependent on the Fathers of the Church, especially Saint Augustine of Hippo, and the teaching of Aristotle. He relied on reason to argue for the existence of God and other theological tenets.

Three of Anselm’s best known works of more than 10 known works, On Divine Being (Monologion),  Why God Became Man (Cur Deus Homo) and the treatise on the Knowledge of the Existence of God (the Proslogion) continue to keep his name alive in philosophical and theological circles.

Born in Aosta, Italy, he traveled to France for his education where he eventually became a monk at the newly founded monastery of Bec in Normandy. In 1063 he was appointed Prior of the monastery. He was profoundly influenced by the charismatic scholar and abbot, Lanfranc, who was to become the close friend of the Norman Duke, William, famous for his conquest of England in 1066. Lanfranc was appointed archbishop of the primatial See of Canterbury, continuing to be the trusted advisor of the king and pursuing a policy of reforming the Church in England along Norman lines through ecclesiastical administration, liturgical ritual, and Romanesque architecture.

Anselm, after his election as abbot of Bec (1078), was able to use his long tenure in office for scholarly and spiritual pursuits, a life to which he was ideally suited. Under Anselm Bec as an intellectual center expanded. Following Lanfranc’s death, William II nominated Anselm to the See of Canterbury (1093), where, however, his temperament and continual conflicts with the Anglo-Norman kings caused him bitter disappointment and exile.


We beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously enlighten Thy Church, that being illumined by the teaching of blessed Anselm, Thy Confessor and Bishop, she may attain to eternal gifts.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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