Author and Giver of Love

From “Prayer for Friends” (ca. 1070-1080) 

I pray you, good and gracious God, for those who love me for your sake and whom I love in you. And I pray more earnestly for those whom you know love me and whom I do most truly love. I am not doing this, Lord, as being righteous and free from sin, but as one urged on by some kind of love for others. So love them, you Source of love, by whose command and gift I love them; and if my prayer does not deserve to avail for them because it is offered to you by a sinner, let it avail for them because it is made at your command. Love them, author and giver of love, for your own sake, not mine, and make them love you with all their heart, all their soul, and all their mind, so that they will and speak and do only what pleases you and is expedient for them. 

St. Anselm (1033-1109) was an Italian abbot and theologian, who served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 until his death. A gifted philosophical theologian, he developed the first ontological proofs for God’s existence and the satisfaction theory of the atonement, which is presented in his famous treatise Cur Deus Homo (“Why God Became Man”). Under his leadership, the Abbey of Bec became Europe’s foremost seat of scholarship. Anselm’s tenure as archbishop was marked by conflict with English kings as he insistently sought reform. His feast day is April 21. The text is cited from Benedicta Ward, trans., The Prayers and Meditations of St. Anselm with the Prosologion (London: Penguin, 1973), 214. 

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