We are celebrating our second Canterbury saint this week, St Anselm.
In 1093 he was summoned from his monastery in Bec to become archbishop succeeding his master and spiritual director Lanfranc. Anselm’s years at Canterbury were not lacking in political controversy. He showed great courage in disputing William II and Henry I in regard to ecclesiastical abuses that were being visited upon the church by those kings. Twice he was banished while making appeals in Rome.
Our local Catholic school founded in 1964 is named after him and their motto is “Fides Quaerens Intellectum” translated is “Faith seeking understanding”. This is from the words of St Anselm “And I do not seek to understand that I may believe but believe that I might understand. For this too I believe since, unless I first believe, I shall not understand”
Before the pandemic the whole school were given permission to celebrate Mass in Canterbury Cathedral on this day.
He was an extraordinary philosopher, theologian and spiritual writer. Here is a prayer he wrote that I love.
O my God, teach my heart where and how to seek You,
where and how to find You.
You are my God and You are my all and I have never seen You.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
Still I do not know You.
I have not yet done that for which I was made.
Teach me to seek You.
I cannot seek You unless You teach me
or find You unless You show Yourself to me.
Let me seek You in my desire,
let me desire You in my seeking.
Let me find You by loving You,
let me love You when I find You.