Paxtonvic’s Blog

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St Anselm, Woad and The Volcanic Ash

Not that they are connected, its just the way I live my life…..

Firstly, here are some thoughts on St Anselm of Canterbury whose day is remembered on April 21st. Last year it was 900 years  since he died

St. Anselm of Canterbury

Today, in this glorious Easter Season, we celebrate the feast of St. Anselm, who was a bishop and doctor of the church – which meant that he was noted for his learning and teaching!

He was born in  Piedmont in  Italy in 1033. As a young man, his great intelligence was noted and when he was about 15 years old he wanted to enter monastic life – but was turned down by an abbot who was fearful of his father who was against that move. Anselm then gave himself over to a worldly  life as a youth, but later came back to his senses and after his father died entered a monastery in  Bec in  Normandy. There he became greatly revered by his fellow monks for his virtue and learning. He was elected Abbot of the monastery and before long became Archbishop of Canterbury.

He fought vigorously for the freedom of the Church against government interference, thus getting himself twice exiled. He was achieved in fame for his writings, especially those on mystical theology. He died in 1109.

Anselm was famous for some major theological works – one called the Proslogium – that work contained  something called the ontological argument for the existence of God.

“ God is that then which nothing greater can be thought. What exists in reality in greater than that which is only in the mind. Wherefore, since then God is that which nothing greater can be thought, he exists in reality and not in our minds”  He also wrote a book called “ Cor Deus Homo”  – Why the God man which contains his theology of the atonement.

Anselm was one who had a deep knowledge of Christ Jesus academically, but what he knew to be even more essential and vital than that was to experience a true and deep relationship with Jesus as a person: as a friend, if you will. He knew that such an experience would fill him and anyone else who sought after it with the fullness of God, which is joy and peace

These are St. Anselm’s own words regarding finding joy and fulfillment  in God:

O God, let me know you and love you so that I may find my joy in you; and if I cannot do so fully in this life, let me at least make some progress every day, until at last that knowledge, love and joy come to me in all their plenitude. While I am here on earth let me learn to know you better, so that in heaven I may know you more fully; let my love for you grow deeper here, so that there I may love you fully. On earth then I shall have great joy in hope, and in heaven complete joy in the fulfillment of my hope!

Theology we may struggle with, but like Anselm at the heart of our faith may we find the peace and love and joy that comes from a living relationship with the living God in Christ. Amen.

Meanwhile, out in the garden, I think this is a  woad plant – I used to sing a song about Woad when I was a teenager singing at Old Peoples Home with my guitar, but I cant remember why on earth I sung a song about woad…… strange, I say!

Woad (Isatis tinctoria), is a herb that looks like a cross between spinach and sugar-beet and from which a blue pigment is produced, that we now know as indigo (formerly called indigotin). However the indigo is not produced directly from the plant, but is derived from two precursors, indican and isatan B, which are found mainly in the leaves. These precursors are extracted from the woad and the indigo is produced outside of the plant, using a simple process.

Now you know! I think ancient celts used to use it all over their bodies to make them look scary…

Here is my rhubarb plant – fascinating leaf structure.

Talking of rhubarb, I have come across this blog and on it I found what I thought is a very moving poem about the fall out of the Volcanic Ash crisis – it makes a lot of sense. I guess we all know someone/persons who are stranded abroad…

Fear. Not fear
of the ash, but the self-made
catastrophe waiting to happen.

Already, faces
absent from weddings and funerals,
exams, interviews and surgery postponed.

Voices raised
in disbelief and protest
as time, money, lives tumble together in the crater.

Our power, speed,
control, our dependence on constant growth,
overbooking, tiny margins and the crazy web of just-in-time:

all up in the air now,
along with the cloud from Iceland.
We’ve made ourselves too fragile, forgotten how to wait.

I cant seem to find out who this writer is – but there are some lovely poems on her blog.

April 20, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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