A tangled tree

Today Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of St. Anselm of Canterbury. He was a monk, archbishop, and doctor of the Church.

He is known as the “Father of Scholasticism” for his works that sought to prove, through reason, the existence of God and matters of free will, truth, and evil. He wrote many a treatise.

Against his will, he became Archbishop of Canterbury.

To the right above, you see an image of a tangled tree. Anselm wrote this to a fellow priest:

If you planted a tree in your garden, and bound it on all sides, so that it could not spread out its branches, what kind of a tree would it prove when in after years you gave it room to spread? Would it not be useless, with its boughs all twisted and tangled?…But that is how you treat your boys…cramping them with fears and blows, debarring them from the enjoyment of any freedom.

I love that image of a tree tangled in itself simply because it hadn’t been given an opportunity to grow out naturally. A tangled tree ends up being useless, and its position renders it a poor bearer of any fruit. Worth some thought.

On a different note, Anselm also said: “God often works more by the illiterate seeking the things that are God’s than by the learned seeking the things of their own.”

Today is the 900th anniversary of his death.

St. Anselm: Pray for us!

2 thoughts on “A tangled tree

  1. Correction:

    I have consulted a book and now have a real answer, Kevin. The clergy did indeed want Anselm as their Bishop, but there was no official election for this.

    The ball fell in the hands of the king. King Rufus did not approve of Anselm, as I said above, so he refused to appoint him. For four years, there was no Bishop of Canterbury!

    King Rufus, however, became quite sick and was nearing death. He was afraid he would go to hell for having caused such a scandal in the Church by refusing to appoint Anselm, he did so…finally.

    But Anselm knew the intentions, and knew that should Rufus make it, he would not be an easy man to work with. So Anselm refused the appointment.

    However, Pope Urban II ordered Anselm to accept. And so he did.

    Quite a story there!!


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