Anselm was born of noble parents in Piedmont (Italy) around the year 1033. At the age of twenty-seven he entered the English Benedictine abbey of Bec, where he became abbot in 1078. As abbot, he gained renown for his preaching and reforming spirit. In 1093, he succeeded his former teacher, Blessed Lanfranc, as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Anselm soon found himself at odds with King William Rufus, whose unjust policies compelled
Anselm to leave England. After traveling to Cluny and Rome, the Anselm returned to England only after he had received word of the king’s death. Conflicts with the new king caused him to flee to Rome where Pope Paschal II defended Anselm’s claim to authority over the English church. In 1106, he returned to Canterbury, where he died on April 21, 1109.
Known as a man of recollection and erudition, Anselm’s writings have had a profound impact on Catholic thought and he has been called the “Father of Scholasticism.” Especially remembered for his Prosologion, the treatise Cur deus homo, and his ontological argument for the existence of God, Anselm of Canterbury was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1720.
The fifty days of the Easter Season are a time for us to not only celebrate the mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection, but also a time to enter more deeply into what this great work of God means in our lives today. Saint Anselm was one of the great lights of the Church who dedicated his life to exploring the truths of God in a way that left an indelible mark on the Church’s beliefs and prayer, up to our own time.
Take time today to read the Gospel for today’s Mass and reflect on who you believe Jesus to be and what that means for your life. Ask Saint Anselm to help you use these holy days to enter more fully into the Easter mysteries, allowing them to bring light and life into your heart and soul.
O God, who led the Bishop Saint Anselm
to seek out and teach the depths of your wisdom,
grant, we pray,
that our faith in your may so aid our understanding,
that what we believe by your command
may give delight to our hearts.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
This reflection was originally written for www.Aletiea.org and published on their site on April 21, 2016.