Monday, April 21, 2008


St. Anselm,
artist and date, UNKNOWN 


Additional Information about St. Anselm[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Anselm

Readings and Commentary:

Reading 1
Ephesians 3:14-19

Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Commentary on
Eph 3:14-19

St. Paul is addressing the Gentiles in Ephesus. “The apostle prays that those he is addressing may, like the rest of the church, deepen their understanding of God's plan of salvation in Christ. It is a plan that affects the whole universe (Ephesians 3:15) with the breadth and length and height and depth of God's love in Christ (Ephesians 3:18) or possibly the universe in all its dimensions. The apostle prays that they may perceive the redemptive love of Christ for them and be completely immersed in the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

CCC: Eph 3:14 239, 2214, 2367; Eph 3:16-17 1073, 2714; Eph 3:16 1995; Eph 3:18-21 2565
Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

R. (2) I will bless the Lord at all times.
(9) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord;
the lowly will hear and be glad.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Glorify the Lord with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the Lord heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.

 R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the Lord is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the Lord want for no good thing.

R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Commentary on
Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

Psalm 34 is a song of thanksgiving and a favorite for celebrating the heroic virtue of the saints. The psalmist, fresh from the experience of being rescued (Psalm 34:5, 7), can teach the "poor," those who are defenseless, to trust in God alone. This psalm, in the words of one being unjustly persecuted, echoes hope for deliverance and freedom. The promise of salvation for those who follow the Lord gives hope to the poor and downtrodden.

CCC: Ps 34:3 716; Ps 34:8 336
Matthew 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
`Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
`I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined."

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.

Commentary on
Mt 7:21-29

This is the final section of the first of five great discourses of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. In it, he broadens his attack on false prophets to include those who perform acts in his name, but lead lives of sin. He uses the analogy of the house built upon sand and the house built upon rock to indicate that those who have a deep faith and act out of that faith have a strong foundation and can stand against adversity, while those who give the faith lip service for others to see, but do not have that deep faith, will fall. He will not even recognize them when they come before him in final judgment.

The Lord also makes a distinction between saying and doing. The metaphor of the “house built on rock” refers to those who hear the word of the Lord from an authentic source and act upon it. The house built on sand is a metaphor for those who either are not taught authentically (by false prophets) or who do not act upon what they have been given.

CCC: Mt 7:21-27 1970; Mt 7:21 443, 1821, 2611, 2826; Mt 7:28-29 581

St. Anselm, whom we memorialize on this day, came to the Church at a difficult time in her history. Monarchy was the preferred form of government in Western Europe, and there was constant tension between Church and state, with the absolute rule of the state butting heads with the mission of the Church in the world. As Bishop of Canterbury, St. Anselm was exiled a number of times for fighting against state control over the Church. Because he was intellectually brilliant, educated as a philosopher and theologian, he had a great image of Christ’s role in the world, and that role could not be usurped or twisted by secular rulers.

The Holy Scripture presented today supports and echoes the call to holiness of St. Anselm. St. Paul, in speaking to the Church as Ephesus, prays for the new believers, that they may be given the wisdom to hear Christ in their hearts, and the strength to follow him with their actions.

In St. Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord reminds his friends that God’s love is modeled by those who authentically pass on his word. Those who do not model that love, but claim to lead people to him for false ends cannot stand. They are exposed because of their motives, and fall, taking those who follow them to condemnation.

The heroic virtue of St. Anselm was to stand fearlessly on true faith in Christ in the face of great pressure (and great temptation) to compromise. It is the lesson we take to heart on his memorial. We pray that all whose faith is challenged may stand firm, and that all who are tempted to take an easier path that does not lead to the Lord may find the rock of our faith in him support in times of peril.


[1] The picture use is St. Anselm, artist and date, UNKNOWN 
[2] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only. 
[3] See NAB Footnote on Ephesians 3:14ff

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