Today is the feast of Saint Anselm, abbot of Bec, and archbishop of Canterbury, whose writings, we read at Matins, ‘seem to be drawn from the reservoirs of heaven’. The hymn at Matins describes the graces bestowed in such abundance on Saint Anselm:
High to the secret of the Word he soaréd.
Borne on the pinions of a faith unshaken,
Who from the purest fountainheads of doctrine,
Draweth more deeply.
Thou, tender Father, chosen to be Abbot,
Wast to thy children lovingly devoted,
Bearing the feeble on thy friendly shoulders,
Spurring the zealous.
A Prayer of Saint Anselm
To God the Son
O how good and sweet Thou art, Lord Jesus, to the soul that seeks Thee, Jesus, Redeemer of the captives; Saviour of the lost; Hope of the exiles; Strength of those that labour; Repose of the anxious spirit; dear Solace and sweet Refreshment of the tearful soul that runs toiling after Thee; Crown of them that conquer; sole Reward and only Joy of the citizens above; full Fountain overflowing with all graces; glorious Offspring of great God; Thyself great God. Great God, let all things that are in heaven above and in earth beneath bless Thee, for Thou art great and great is Thy Name. O unfading Beauty of the most high God, and purest Brightness of Eternal Light; O Life enlivening all life, O Light enlightening all light, and sustaining in eternal splendour the thousand thousand thousands of lights that blaze before the Throne of Thy Divine Majesty, on from the distant dawn of their first early shining. O Thou welling Fountain, hidden from mortal sight in the eternal and exhaustless outgushing of Thy fresh limpid floods, Whose springs have no beginning, Whose deeps are deep and infinitely deep, Whose height attains no limit, Whose breadth broadens onwards marginless for ever, Whose purity is unruffled through eternity! The Bosom of unfathomable God pours thee forth from the unsearchable abyss of His own profound, Life begetting Life, Light begetting Light, God begetting God, eternal God begetting eternal God, infinite God, God infinite and in all things coequal with Himself. And, Of Thy fulness we have all received (John 1:16).
To God the Holy Ghost
Thee too, all-plentiful Spring of every good, priceless Light of sevenfold grace, Thee, O most merciful Spirit, I implore to vouchsafe to illuminate me by Thy visitation, whereinsoever, by reason of my frailty, I have too feebly grasped the truth of Thy majesty and grandeur, and whatsoever of all that I have understood of Thy Divine precepts I have by carnal wantonness disesteemed; so may I correct what is amiss, and, helped by Thee, whom, voyaging over this life’s sea of perils, I have invoked to my assistance, may I be guided without shipwreck to the harbour of eternal peace.
To God the Father
Thee, too, I entreat, all-pitiful Father, that, as Thou didst first make me and then re-make by the Passion of Thy only-begotten Son, so Thou wouldst give me to think and love whatsoever tends to Thy glory. I am frail and unequal to my undertaking, but do Thou grant me by diligent confession to attain the grace of redemption and salvation. And whatever work I undertake henceforth, make it tend altogether, by Thy grace, through Thy grace, and in Thy grace, to Thine only praise. Keep me henceforth from sin, teach me to be more constant and courageous in good works; and so long as I live in this body, let me show myself some way Thy servant. And so grant me, after my soul’s exit from the flesh, to obtain pardon of all my sins and reap life ever lasting. Through Him who with Thee liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen.