Friday, April 21, 2017

Feast of St. Anselm

statue of Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England; artist unknown; photograph on 31 May 2010 by Ealdgyth; swiped off Wikipedia

While pre-empted this year by the observance of Easter Friday, today, 21 April, is the Feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (+1109AD).

St. Anselm was Archbishop of Canterbury in England from 1093 to 1109AD, but was born in Aosta, Italy around 1033, and joined a Benedictine monastery in Normandy, France in 1060.

St. Anselm was famous for his role in making the monastery of Bec a center of learning, and then for his tremendous theological work and disputes with the English crown over the rights of the Church.  Those disputes would drive him into exile twice -- making St. Anselm a kind of forerunner to St. Thomas Becket of the late 12th century.

As a Doctor of the Church, proclaimed in 1720 by Pope Clement XI, St. Anselm is a notable theological writer.  His motto: "fides quaerens intellectum."

Perhaps today is the day to read the "proof" for the existence of God that he outlines in the Prosolgion.  The heart of the argument, from chapter III:

"Quare si id quo maius nequit cogitari, potest cogitari non esse: id ipsum quo maius cogitari nequit, non est id quo maius cogitari nequit; quod convenire non potest. Sic ergo vere est aliquid quo maius cogitari non potest, ut nec cogitari possit non esse.
Et hoc es tu, Domine Deus noster."

"Hence, if that, than which nothing greater can be conceived, can be conceived not to exist, it is not that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. But this is an irreconcilable contradiction. There is, then, so truly a being than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist, that it cannot even be conceived not to exist;. and this being you are, O Lord, our God."
Proslogion of St. Anselm Latin Text
Proslogium of St. Anselm, English Text

St. Anselm's other works include the Monologion and Cur Deus Homo (the work held in the statue pictured above).  Certainly, St. Anselm stands as an intellectual giant of the 12th century and a key figure in the development of scholasticism!

For more information, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Anselm

Catholic Saints: St. Anselm of Canterbury

Romulus by Jean Auguste Dominiques Ingres.

Today is also the traditional anniversary of the founding of the City of Rome on the Palatine Hill on 21 April 753BC by Romulus.  That date is enshrined in the Roman calendar as the date "ab urbe condita" and year 1.  That makes this year 2770 AUC, I believe.

Live well!

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