Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In Festo S. Anselmi, OSB (Apr. 21), Acta


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From Matins of the Feast of St. Anselm, Confessor, Bishop and Doctor (2nd Nocturn)

Ansélmus, Augústæ Prætóriæ in fínibus Itáliæ, Gundúlpho et Ermembérga nobílibus et cathólicis paréntibus natus, a téneris annis assíduo litterárum stúdio atque perfectióris vitæ desidério, non obscúrum futúræ sanctitátis et doctrínæ spécimen dedit. Et licet juveníli ardóre aliquándo ad sæculi illécebras traherétur, brevi tamen in prístinam viam revocátus, pátria et bonis ómnibus derelíctis, ad monastérium Beccénse órdinis sancti Benedícti se cóntulit ; ubi, emíssa regulári professióne, sub Herluíno abbáte observantíssimo et Lanfránco viro doctíssimo, tanto ánimi fervóre et jugi stúdio in lítteris et virtútibus assequéndis profécit, ut mirum in modum tamquam sanctitátis et doctrínæ exémplar 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 assiduitáte jejúnii omnis pene cibórum sensus in eo viderétur exstínctus. Diúrno enim témpore in exercítiis monásticis docéndo, et respondéndo váriis de religióne quæsítis eménso ; quod réliquum erat noctis, somno subtrahébat, ut divínis meditatiónibus, quas perénni lacrimárum imbre fovébat, mentem recreáret. Eléctus in priórem monastérii ínvidos fratres ita caritáte, humilitáte et prudéntia lenívit, ut quos æmulos accéperat, sibi et Deo amícos, máximo cum reguláris observántiæ emoluménto, rédderet. Mórtuo abbáte, et in ejus locum, licet invítus, sufféctus, tanta doctrínæ et sanctitátis fama ubíque refúlsit, ut non modo régibus et epíscopis veneratióni esset, sed sancto Gregório séptimo étiam accéptus, qui tunc magnis persecutiónibus agitátus, lítteras amóris plenas ad eum dedit, quibus se et Ecclésiam cathólicam ejus oratiónibus commendábat.

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.

Defúnctus Lanfránco archiepíscopo Cantuariénsi, ejus olim præceptóre, Ansélmus, urgénte Willélmo Angliæ rege et instántibus clero ac pópulo, ipso tamen repugnánte, ad ejúsdem ecclésiæ régimen vocátus, statim (ut corrúptos pópuli mores reformáret) verbo et exémplo prius, dein scriptis, et concíliis celebrátis, prístinam pietátem et ecclesiásticam disciplínam redúxit. Sed cum mox idem Willélmus rex vi et minis Ecclésiæ jura usurpáre tentásset, ipse sacerdotáli constántia réstitit ; bonorúmque direptiónem et exsílium passus, Romam ad Urbánum secúndum se cóntulit : a quo honorífice excéptus et summis láudibus ornátus est, cum in Barénsi concílio Spíritum Sanctum étiam a Fílio procedéntem, contra Græcórum errórem, innúmeris Scripturárum et sanctórum Patrum testimóniis propugnásset. E vivis Willélmo subláto, ab Henríco rege, ejus fratre, in Angliam revocátus, obdormívit in Dómino ; famam non solum miraculórum et sanctitátis (præcípue ob insígnem devotiónem erga Dómini nostri passiónem et beátam Vírginem ejus Matrem) assecútus, sed étiam doctrínæ, quam ad defensiónem Christiánæ religiónis, animárum proféctum, et ómnium theologórum, qui sacras lítteras scholástica méthodo tradidérunt, normam cælitus hausísse 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 Anselm 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.

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