Published on:

21st Apr 2020

The value of clerics (St Anselm of Canterbury)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

Today is the feast of St Anselm of Canterbury. He is most famous for fighting for what today we call religious freedom. Some points of view might criticise this: it would not be the first time Catholic priests have been criticised for speaking or acting in the public sphere, or for the very fact that they govern the church. Its a bizarre point of view though. Of course every state of life, include that of the laity, has their mission and place in the church, each necessary and equally important. But we don’t see heaps of helpful lay church leadership in Anselm’s time. The rich and powerful laity, all Catholic, were missing in action, either too busy preserving their wealth or too cowardly to defend their faith. Certainly the leading lay Catholics at the time, the English kings, spent their time subduing the Church in order to get support for their throne and their wars, and more importantly get their hands on her money.

Anselm, a priest, totally given to the Church and for the Church, was free to do what the leading lay Catholics would not: instead of trying to remodel the Church according to his own ideas, he laid down his life for her as she was, being forced into abandoning his peaceful contemplative life for a perpetual rough ocean of political trouble as Archbishop of Canterbury, twice being kicked out of his own country for his troubles, constantly reaffirming, at great cost to himself, the teachings and structure that Jesus instituted. Let’s thank the Lord for our pastors, begging God keep them to their vocation of courageously leading us in our vocation of holiness. 

Let us pray: 

O God, who led the Bishop Saint Anselm

to seek out and teach the depths of your wisdom,

grant, we pray,

that our faith in you may so aid our understanding,

that what we believe by your command

may give delight to our hearts.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Show artwork for The Furnace

About the Podcast

The Furnace
The Furnace is a free brief daily homily podcast by a priest of the Emmanuel Community for the Archdiocese of Sydney. The aim of the podcast is to proclaim the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the "glowing furnace of love" (St Gertrude the Great).
Why The Furnace? Quite simply because most people in Australia, and the
world, can no longer get to Mass, or even into a church. The point of these
podcasts is to bring people a share of the Mass in the Word of God and prayer.
But why the name? Because the Heart of Jesus is a “Furnace of love”. This
is how St Gertrude the Great describes it. As she prays:

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
fountain of eternal life,
Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love.
You are my refuge and my sanctuary.
O my adorable and loving Saviour,
consume my heart with the burning fire
with which Yours is aflamed.
Pour down on my soul those graces
which flow from Your love.
Let my heart be united with Yours.
Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things.
May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions.

The point of these homilies is first of all to share this with everyone - to
share the love of God’s heart with every human heart. There is nothing original
about that. This is, basically, all priests are ever trying to do. And it’s the only
real point of the Catholic Church: invented by Christ to share Christ, starting
from his pierced heart on the cross on Good Friday. It’s only fitting that at this
time each of us are being refitted with slightly larger crosses that our creator
comes to meet us from the cross with his own heart pierced and broken.

There is so much I could say about the Heart of Jesus - but I would have
to go on forever, because his Heart is infinite. So I’ll finish with the invitation of
another of the great saints of the Sacred Heart, St Claude la Colombiere:
May the Heart of Jesus Christ be our school! Let us make our abode there . . .

Let us study its movements and attempt to conform ours to them.
My friends, lets enter Jesus’ heart together.

It’s not just me recording it, or just you listening to a recording.

I rely on your prayers, and as I write and talk I am praying for each of you. And
in any case, there is no such thing as a Christian doing something by themselves:
like the Trinity, where one is, the others are. So let’s enter together, for Jesus is
standing in front of us now, with his heart wide open, to enter and experience
his love, his healing, his teaching, authentic freedom - and eternal life with him.