I have recently been asked to assist at an Anglican Chapel in the University of Manchester as their Honorary Chaplain; this I am very happy to do. The dedication of the chapel is to St Anselm of Canterbury, Priest and Doctor. The motto of the Chapel and the Hall itself is Credo ut Intelligam. This can be translated in a number of ways but perhaps the most satisfying is, “I believe in order that I might understand.”
St Anselm was an Italian who served as a French Benedictine monk in Bec in the 11th century and ended up as the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a man of sizeable intelligence who managed to come into conflict with William II over a whole series of issues. His feast day is on the 2st of April.
One of the very first things I say to my confirmation candidates is that God does not expect us to sever the connection between our brains and rest of our bodies when we walk through the front door of the Church. The mind is a God given gift that we ought to exercise to His glory as we should any other aspect of our bodies.
We cannot fathom God’s grace ot how we are nurtured and fed by the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments; but we are surely bound to think and to reflect and to give serious thinking time to the things of God.
The 26th of October is the day on which we remember the life of Alfred the Great, King and Scholar. He too was a man who spent his time in study as an outworking of his Christian life. The Benedictine tradition in which Anselm existed still exists today; a notable monk was Cardinal Basil Hulme. He combined great intelligence with great prayer and holiness. He wrote a book entitled, “Basil in Blunderland.” It is the most simple and yet the most profound book that I have ever read on prayer.
The living of the Faith requires us to exercise our minds; to read well and to think seriously about what we believe. It is in our understanding that the life of the Faith grows in our minds and is translated into our actions. Christians are thinking beings; let us use our minds.