Saint Anselm explains God

Saint Anselm is a Doctor of the Catholic Church. His Feast Day is April 21. Saint Anselm is one of the Scholastics, predating the somewhat better known, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Saint Anselm’s writings have survived largely intact, providing a philosophical “sweet spot” that falls chronologically, between Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas and theologically, proves to be highly practical and deeply insightful.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent article on Saint Anselm:

“Arousal of the mind for contemplating God”

Teach me to seek You, and reveal Yourself to me as I seek; for unless You teach me I cannot seek You, and unless You reveal Yourself I cannot find You. Let me seek You in desiring You; let me desire You in seeking You. Let me find You in loving You; let me love You in finding You. 0 Lord, I acknowledge and give thanks that You created in me Your image so that I may remember, contemplate, and love You. But this image has been so effaced by the abrasion of transgressions, so hidden from sight by the dark billows of sins, that unless You renew and refashion it, it cannot do what it was created to do. 0 Lord, I do not attempt to gain access to Your loftiness, because I do not at all consider my intellect to be equal to this task. But I yearn to understand some measure of Your truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order to believe, but I believe in order to understand. For I believe even this: that unless I believe, I shall not understand.

Therefore, if that than which a greater cannot be thought were only in the understanding, then that than which a greater cannot be thought would be that than which a greater can be thought!” Clearly, something than which a greater cannot be thought must exist both in understanding and reality, or it would be less than those things which exist both in the understanding and in reality. Moreover, God cannot be thought not to exist. Why? Because if that were to happen, if a mind could think of something better than God (making it therefore certain that God does not exist as the Being of which no Being greater can be conceived) then the creature would sit in judgment of the Creator, and therefore that creature would be, as Scripture says (Psalm 14:1), the fool who in his heart says there is no God; but he only says this because he has fooled himself.

For only what You will is just, and only what You do not will is not just. So, then, Your mercy is begotten from Your justice, because it is just for You to be good to such an extent that You are good even in sparing. And perhaps this is why He who is supremely just can will good things for those who are evil. But if we can somehow grasp why You can will to save those who are evil, surely we cannot at all comprehend why from among those who are similarly evil You save some and not others because of Your supreme goodness, and condemn some and not others because of Your supreme justice.

Read more at Catholic Insight

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