Thursday, February 19th, 2009
From the Dominican Ordo:
Born at Zamora, Spain, towards the middle of the fourteenth century, Blessed Alvarez entered the Order in 1368. He preached throughout Spain and Italy and established the priory of Scala Caeli at Cordova where he promoted the regular life. By his preaching and contemplation of the Lord’s Passion he spread the practice of the Way of the Cross throughout the West. He died on February 19, about the year 1430.
God of mercy,
you endowed Blessed Alvarez
with the gifts of penance and divine love.
With the help of his prayers and example
may we always bear the suffering of Christ in our bodies
and your love in our hearts.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Continuing his series on the Church Fathers, Pope Benedict used his General Audience address yesterday to highlight the life and virtues of Venerable Bede, the early eighth-century English monk whose legacy includes not only a reputation for holiness but also a vast corpus of writings. His most notable work is a history of the Christian Church in England, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People.
Pope Benedict’s appreciation of Bede is understandable. Given what he has said about Christian monasticism’s giving birth to European culture, Bede stands out for him as a prime example of how dedication to Christ and deep contemplation of his Word, both alone and with others, has the positive effect of producing a real, human culture in which arts, letters, science, and fraternity are allowed to flourish. For the Pope, this is the lasting theological and anthropological witness given by Benedictine monasticism—true cult blossoms into true culture.
GENERAL AUDIENCE ADDRESS
February 18, 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The saint on whom we reflect today is called Bede. He was born in Northeast England, in fact in Northumbria, in the year 672/673. He himself narrates that, when he was seven years old his parents entrusted him to the abbot of the neighboring Benedictine monastery, to be educated. “In this monastery,” he recalls, “I lived from then on, dedicating myself intensely to the study of Scripture, while observing the discipline of the Rule and the daily effort to sing in church, I always found it pleasant to learn, teach and write” (Ecclesiastical History of the English People, V, 24). In fact, Bede was one of the most illustrious figures of erudition of the High Middle Ages because he was able to make use of many precious manuscripts that his abbots, who went on frequent trips to the Continent and to Rome, were able to bring back to him. His teaching and the fame of his writings enabled him to have many friendships with the principal personalities of his time, who encouraged him to continue in his work, from which so many benefited. Falling ill, he did not cease to work, always having an interior joy that was expressed in prayer and song. He concluded his most important work, “The Ecclesiastical History of the English People,” with this invocation: “I pray, O good Jesus, who benevolently has allowed me to draw from the sweet words of your wisdom, that I may reach you one day, source of all wisdom, and to always be before your face.” Death came to him on May 26, 735: It was Ascension day.
Sacred Scriptures were the constant source of Bede’s theological reflection. Having made a careful critical study of the text (we have a copy of the monumental Codex Amiatinus of the Vulgate, on which Bede worked), he commented on the Bible, reading it in a Christological vein, namely, re-uniting two things: On one hand, he listened to what the text was saying exactly, he really wanted to listen and understand the text itself; on the other hand, he was convinced that the key to understanding sacred Scripture as the unique Word of God is Christ and with Christ, in his light, one understands the Old and the New Testament as “a” sacred Scripture.