A Prayer from Anselm of Canterbury
O my God teach my heart where and how to seek you,
where and how to find you…
You are my God and you are my All and I have never seen you.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
Still I do not know you…
I have not yet done that for which I was made….
Teach me to seek you…
I cannot seek you unless you teach me
or find you unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.
St. Anselm (1033–1109) was born into a noble family in the Lombardy region of Italy. The example of his pious mother led him to great faith, and he sought to enter the monastery at age 15. However, the abbot refused him due to Anselm’s stern father. After his mother’s death Anselm left home and settled in Normandy to study under the direction of a famed monk named Lanfranc. Upon the death of his father, Anselm became a Benedictine monk at the age of 27. Due to his brilliance, Anselm became a teacher at the abbey’s school and prior of the monastery. He went on to become the most learned theologian, philosopher, and mystic of his generation, the greatest since St. Augustine of Hippo. Anselm’s fame led to his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury in England, succeeding Lanfranc in this office, where he went on to correct abuses against the Church at the hand of the English kings. Twice he was banished from the island while appealing to Rome for assistance, and twice he returned to Canterbury to carry on his duties until his death. His abilities as an extraordinary theologian, negotiator, and statesman greatly supported the cause of the Church. As archbishop he continued his monastic lifestyle and intellectual pursuits. He composed several philosophical and theological treatises, as well as a series of beautiful prayers and meditations, which led him to be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Clement XI in 1720. His feast day is celebrated on April 21st.