St. Anselm (1033-1109), whose feast day is April 21, was born into a noble family and desired to enter monastic life from a young age, but his father would not give his consent. As an adult, Anselm finally did enter the Benedictine Abbey of Bec, in Rouen, France, where he eventually became the abbot. He later became the Archbishop of Canterbury where he was often in conflict with the monarchy because he asserted the independence of the church from the state. Anselm composed many works of philosophy, including an ontological proof of God, which defined God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought.” He has been called “Father of Scholasticism,” and many believe we owe our notion of theology as “faith seeking understanding” largely to Anselm.
“Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this, too, I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand.” — St. Anselm
Questions for Reflection:
- There’s always been conflict between science and religion, yet great thinkers of the Church throughout the ages have asserted that faith and reason are complementary. Have you ever experienced the tension between faith and reason? What did you do?
- What place do religion and science play in your worldview?