Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury

21 April -- Lesser Festival -- Teacher of the Faith -- White

Anselm was born in Aosta, northern Italy, in 1033. As a young man, he left home and travelled north, visiting many monasteries and other centres of learning. One such visit was to the abbey of Bec, where he met Lanfranc who advised him to embrace monastic life. Anselm had a powerful and original mind and, during his 34 years at Bec (as monk, prior and finally abbot), he taught many others and wrote theological, philosophical and devotional works. When Lanfranc died Anselm was made Archbishop of Canterbury and had to subordinate his scholarly work to the needs of the diocese and nation. Twice he endured exile for championing the rights of the Church against the authority of the king; but despite his stubbornness, intellectual rigour, and personal austerity he was admired by the Norman nobility as well as loved by his monks. He died in 1109.


Eternal God,
who gave great gifts to your servant Anselm
   as a pastor and teacher:
grant that we, like him, may desire you with our whole heart
and, so desiring, may seek you
and, seeking, may find you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the Book of Wisdom.

For who can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills? For the reasoning of mortals is worthless, and our designs are likely to fail; for a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthy tent burdens the thoughtful mind. We can hardly guess at what is on earth, and what is at hand we find with labour; but who has traced out what is in the heavens? Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus the paths of those on earth were set right, and people were taught what pleases you, and were saved by wisdom.

This is the word of the Lord.         Wisdom 9. 13-18

Responsorial Psalm

RYou have given us wisdom and understanding, O Lord,
[and sent your Holy Spirit from on high].
In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
let me never be ashamed.
In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free;
incline your ear to me and save me. R

For you are my hope, O Lord God,
I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
from my mother's womb you have been my strength;
my praise shall be always of you. R

I have become a portent to many;
but you are my refuge and my strength.
Let my mouth be full of your praise
and your glory all the day long. R         From Psalm 71

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans.

God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

This is the word of the Lord.         Romans 5. 8-11

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

In the hearing of all the people Jesus said to the disciples, "When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

"But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Luke 21. 9-15

Post Communion

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
   of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with your servant Anselm
   to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.