Monday, May 25, 2009
St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of The Church, May 25
“And I pray thee, loving Jesús, that as Thou hast graciously given me to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge, so Thou wouldst mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee, the fountain of all wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face.” - St. Bede the Venerable
Born in 672 in Wearmouth, England; died May 25, 735 in Benedictine abbey of Sts. Peter and Paul in Wearmouth. Declared Doctor of the Church in 1899 by Pope Leo XIII.
Bede entered the local Benedictine monastery when he was seven years old, and was educated and lived there until his death at the age of 63. He was ordained a deacon at 19 and a priest at 30. He was an avid man of letters who spent all his life serving the Lord through learning, teaching and writing. The majority of his work was commentary on Holy Scripture, which he endeavored to accomplish in full conformity with the teachings of the Fathers of the Church. He subordinated all his studies to the service of the interpretation of Scripture, which was for him the apex of all learning. He also completed works on mathematics, poetry, astronomy, philosophy, and music – he was a composer of several important early works of Gregorian plain chant.
Bede’s most enduring accomplishment, however, is in the field of history. He is known as the “Father of English history,” due to his great work, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Virtually nothing is known about pre-8th century England from sources other than his book, the driving theme of which is the manner in which violence and savagery have been constantly overrun by the spiritual, doctrinal, and cultural unity of the Church. At the time of Bede’s writing, all of England had been finally united under Christianity.
Bede was much loved and admired by his fellow monks in the monastery in which he lived all his life and rarely ever left, and it is said that the title ‘venerable’ was accorded him while he was still alive. On his death, Cuthbert, one of his disciples said of him, “I can with truth declare that I never saw with my eyes or heard with my ears anyone return thanks so unceasingly to the living God.”
(Catholic News Agency, May 25, 2009)
Venerable Bede is the earliest witness of pure Gregorian tradition in England. His works "Musica theoretica" and "De arte Metricâ" (Migne, XC) are found especially valuable by present-day scholars engaged in the study of the primitive form of the chant.
He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbour. - Saint Bede the Venerable
“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).