I have received a very illustrious Patron for 2012: St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109). Benedictine abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, Doctor of the Church, and one of the intellectual giants of the Middle Ages. While he preferred the quiet monastic life, he was not afraid of asserting himself against the secular powers-that-were. He clashed with kings over Church autonomy–you could say he was an early fighter for the separation of Church and State. He was exiled more than once for it. He was also an early pioneer in opposing slavery and the selling and buying of human persons.
Doesn’t it just go to show that the world doesn’t change that much? The issues St. Anselm faced almost 1,000 years ago are still very much present in the modern world. We modern folk are not as unique as we sometimes think we are. There is always common ground to be found, no matter how distant in time and space we may be. And that is a good thing, an instructive thing. We are never alone, and we never have to start from scratch in dealing with the ills of the world.
I may not be an incredible philosopher and theologian like St. Anselm, but I definitely feel kinship with him when it comes to taking a stand against the secular world when necessary. Perhaps he can teach me greater courage, patience, and graciousness–things that can become especially difficult when a big election season is heating up.
St. Anselm of Canterbury, pray for us!