Today marks the Saint's Day of The Venerable Bede, one of my favorite English saints. The wonderful Saint-of-the-Day e-mails from AmericanCatholic.org, from which I learn so much about the men and women on the Pilgrim Pathway before us, tells us a little about his life. I here include the daily e-mail in its entirety:
|Sunday, May 25,
St. Bede the Venerable
|Bede is one of the few saints honored
as such even during his lifetime. His writings were filled with such faith and
learning that even while he was still alive, a Church council ordered them to be
read publicly in the churches.
At an early age Bede was entrusted to the care of the abbot of the Monastery of St. Paul, Jarrow. The happy combination of genius and the instruction of scholarly, saintly monks produced a saint and an extraordinary scholar, perhaps the most outstanding one of his day.
He was deeply versed in all the sciences of his times: natural philosophy, the philosophical principles of Aristotle, astronomy, arithmetic, grammar, ecclesiastical history, the lives of the saints and, especially, Holy Scripture.
From the time of his ordination to the priesthood at 30 (he had been ordained deacon at 19) till his death, he was ever occupied with learning, writing and teaching. Besides the many books that he copied, he composed 45 of his own, including 30 commentaries on books of the Bible.
Although eagerly sought by kings and other notables, even Pope Sergius, Bede managed to remain in his own monastery till his death. Only once did he leave for a few months in order to teach in the school of the archbishop of York. Bede died in 735 praying his favorite prayer: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As in the beginning, so now, and forever.”
His Ecclesiastical History of the English People is commonly regarded as of decisive importance in the art and science of writing history. A unique era was coming to an end at the time of Bede’s death: It had fulfilled its purpose of preparing Western Christianity to assimilate the non-Roman barbarian North. Bede recognized the opening to a new day in the life of the Church even as it was happening.
Though his History is the greatest legacy Bede has left us, his work in all the sciences (especially in Scripture) should not be overlooked. During his last Lent, he worked on a translation of the Gospel of St. John into English, completing it the day he died. But of this work “to break the word to the poor and unlearned” nothing remains today.
“We have not, it seems to me, amid all our discoveries, invented as yet anything better than the Christian life which Bede lived, and the Christian death which he died” (C. Plummer, editor of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History).
As we remember this amazing Saint, we can also access his Ecclesiastical History of the English People free through Christian Classics Ethereal Library here: Bede's Ecclesiatical History of the English People. Although I read this book back in my Christian Tradition course as an undergrad at Point Loma Nazarene University, I've been wanting to refresh my memory of this wonderful work. And as an informal Anglican (I've been attending Friday Morning Prayer and Holy Communion Healing Services with Alpine Anglican Church of the Blessed Trinity for the past eight years and helped to edit The Book of Common Prayer 2011 which uses the English Standard Version for all Scriptures), I want to re-read Bede's History in light of all I've learned about the English Church since my college days.
But such reading projects will have to wait. The moment I finish this post, I need to grade the final MLA research essays submitted by my Expository Essay I and II classes at Heritage Christian School's East County II Class Days; with our final class meeting this Thursday, I must grade and return these essays plus compute final course grades for my students. Fortunately, Engrade is a huge help in tracking grades; I've even started using it for my Literary Analysis courses at Brave Writer to keep track of all of the points for various discussion question responses, etc.
And speaking of Brave Writer, my Literary Analysis: Romeo & Juliet class is gearing up to discuss the play starting this week. In past courses, I've received 75-100 essay posts within 24 hours that I need to respond to, commenting on content and depth of analysis.
So with finishing up our last three weeks of the school year, with B finishing 8th grade and J completing 11th, with Heritage Christian School, grading research papers and computing final grades for my Expository Essays courses at Heritage's Class Day, and keeping up with the students in my Romeo & Juliet class at Brave Writer, you may not see me again until after June 13, our last day of school and the final day of the Romeo & Juliet class.
So, needless to say, The Venerable Bede will be waiting until then as well.
But to keep me on track for the next couple of weeks, I've posted this quotation on the wall above my desk as a reminder:
"The divine moment is the present moment."
~Saint Catherine of Genoa
Those are good words to live by, I think, especially during these next three crazy-busy weeks.
See you after the grades are all in!