Saint Bede the Venerable (672-735), prolific writer and commenter on Holy Scripture, and Doctor of the Church. The writings of Saint Bede, including his commentaries on the seven Catholic Epistles and the Gospel of Luke, as well as recorded homilies on varied topics including the Magnificat of Our Blessed Mother, well document Church history and teaching, and inform the Rite of Mass still used today. Much of what we know of the life of Saint Bede was recorded by his own hand, translated by himself into Latin, or written by his faithful friend, Saint Cuthbert. One of the few holy men and women to be honored as saints, even while they remained alive, the writings of Saint Bede were filled with such faith and learning that a Church council ordered them to be read publicly in the churches.
"Through all the observance of monastic discipline," Bede wrote, "it has ever been my delight to learn and teach and write." His best known text, the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, is widely regarded as a decisive historical text which inspired the recording of written history. This text described the history of the English Church, and is a primary source of English history. Thirty of his manuscripts focused on Biblical commentary and theology. Aside from those he wrote, Saint Bede copied many texts by hand, translating a significant number of them into Latin to aid in teaching those of other languages.
In his own words, from the Ecclesiastical History of the English People:
“Thus much concerning the ecclesiastical history of Britain, and especially of the race of the English, I, Baeda, a servant of Christ and a priest of the monastery of the blessed apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is at Wearmouth and at Jarrow (in Northumberland), have with the Lord's help composed so far as I could gather it either from ancient documents or from the traditions of the elders, or from my own knowledge. I was born in the territory of the said monastery, and at the age of seven I was, by the care of my relations, given to the most reverend Abbot Benedict, and afterwards to Ceolfrid, to be educated. From that time I have spent the whole of my life within that monastery, devoting all my pains to the study of the Scriptures, and amid the observance of monastic discipline and the daily charge of singing in the Church, it has been ever my delight to learn or teach or write. In my nineteenth year I was admitted to the deaconate, in my thirtieth to the priesthood, both by the hands of the most reverend Bishop John, and at the bidding of Abbot Ceolfrid. From the time of my admission to the priesthood to my present fifty-ninth year, I have endeavored for my own use and that of my brethren, to make brief notes upon the holy Scripture, either out of the works of the venerable Fathers or in conformity with their meaning and interpretation.”
"If it be the will of my Maker, the time has come when I shall be freed from the body and return to Him Who created me out of nothing when I had no being. I have had a long life, and the merciful Judge has ordered it graciously. The time of my departure is at hand, and my soul longs to see Christ my King in His beauty.” He further wrote of Bede’s life and death, citing a poem that Saint Bede had written in preparation for meeting his Maker: “And he used to repeat that sentence from Saint Paul, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” and many other verses of Scripture, urging us thereby to awake from the slumber of the soul by thinking in good time of our last hour. And in our own language,—for he was familiar with English poetry,—speaking of the soul’s dread departure from the body:
More prudent than he has good call to be,
If he consider, before his going hence,
What for his spirit of good hap or of evil
After his day of death shall be determined.”
Saint Bede was regarded as, and referred to as “Venerable” beginning shortly following his death. He is the only English Doctor of the Church. The conclusion of his Ecclesiastical History records his piety, humility, and wisdom: “And I pray thee, loving Jesus, 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.”
Almighty God, maker of all things,
whose Son Jesus Christ gave to thy servant Bede
grace to drink in with joy
the word which leadeth us to know thee and to love thee:
in thy goodness
grant that we also may come at length to thee,
the source of all wisdom,
and stand before thy face;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Inspired by the origins and spiritual history of the Holy Rosary, we continue our meditation on the psalms, one each day, in order, for 150 days. We are reminded of Christ’s last words on the cross—words taken from the Holy Scriptures, Psalm 31:5.
Today’s Psalm: Psalm 31: Prayer in Distress and Thanksgiving for Escape
1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Free me from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies,
I am the utter contempt of my neighbors;
I am a dread to my friends—
those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead;
I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear the slander of many;
there is terror on every side;
they conspire against me
and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my God."
15 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from my enemies
and from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and lie silent in the grave.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
19 How great is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from the intrigues of men;
in your dwelling you keep them safe
from accusing tongues.
21 Praise be to the LORD,
for he showed his wonderful love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
22 In my alarm I said,
"I am cut off from your sight!"
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
23 Love the LORD, all his saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful,
but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the LORD.
Day 145 of 365
Prayer Intentions: Minds and hearts called to the Lord and His teachings
Requested Intentions: Recovery of left shoulder fracture (E); Financial recovery (A); The repose of a lonely soul (L); Health for an ailing nephew (A); Those suffering from depression (J); Successful conception of a child (D); Successful adoption (S); Healing of a father battling cancer (S); For the guidance of Our Blessed Mother (A); Recovery from a stroke (R).
Psalm: Psalm 31: Prayer in Distress and Thanksgiving for Escape
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."