Appeared in Summer/Autumn/Winter 2004, Vol. XXIX, Nos. 2, 3, 4
There are many reasons why Saint Anselm (ca.1033-1109) has seldom been embraced as an exemplar of Christian aspirations. He has a sometimes annoying habit of taking the Lord at His word, a proclivity that – oddly enough – causes him to be reckoned unrealistic. For example, Anselm believes that Christ, in calling His followers to perfection, articulates a realistic prospect. Anselm finds a potent reality in Jesus’ admonitions, and does not hesitate to plumb them for rationale and meaning. In the present age, as in much of the nine centuries since Anselm’s ministry, though, even religious are sometimes reluctant to accept that such prospects as heroic virtue pose a potent and ready option for ordinary Christians.
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