From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Mon Jan 25 23:33:21 2021
On Contrition of Heart (IV)
Consider yourself unworthy of God's comfort, but rather deserving of
much suffering. When a man is perfectly contrite, this present world
becomes grievous and bitter to him. A good man always finds cause for
grief and tears; for whether he considers himself or his neighbours,
he knows that no man lives without trouble in this life. And the more
strictly he examines himself, the more cause he finds for sorrow. Our
sins and vices are grounds for rightful sorrow and contrition of
heart; for they have so strong a hold on us that we are seldom able to contemplate heavenly things.
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Bk 1, Ch 21
January 26th - St. Eystein, Archbishop of Nidaros
IN the year 1152 an English cardinal, Nicholas Breakspeare (afterwards
to be pope as Adrian IV), visited Norway as legate of the Holy See,
and gave a new organization to the Church in that country, consisting
of a metropolitan see at Nidaros (Trondhjem) with ten bishoprics. *
Among them was Suderoyene, i.e. the western isles of Scotland and Man,
which remained suifragan to Trondhjem till the 14th century the name
survives In the “Sodor and Man” diocese of the Anglican Church to-day.
Other sees were In the northern islands, Greenland and Iceland. Five
years later the second archbishop of Nidaros was appointed, in the
person of Eystein Erlandsson, chaplain to King Inge, an appointment
which violated the regulations for canonical appointments laid down by
Cardinal Breakspeare. But it proved to be the life work of the new
archbishop to maintain the Church’s right of conducting its affairs
without interference “by the rich and great”, and finally to bring the Norwegian church into the general pattern of the west European
Christendom of that day.
After his appointment Eystein made his way to Rome, but it is not
known exactly when or where he was consecrated bishop by Pope
Alexander III and received the pallium.
In any case he did not get back home till late in 1161, and then he
came as papal legate a latere. One of his first iderests was to finish
the enlargement of the cathedral, Christ Church, of Nidaros, and some
of his building still remains. In the account which he wrote of St.
Olaf, St. Eystein relates his remarkably speedy recovery from an
accident sustained by him when a scaffolding on this building
collapsed he attributes it to Olaf’s intercession.
After the death of King Haakon II, Jarl Erling Skakke wanted to get
his own eight-year-old son Magnus recognized as king of Norway. And in
1164, probably in return for concessions touching ecclesiastical
revenue, Archbishop Eystein anointed and crowned the child at Bergen,
the first royal coronation in Norwegian history. Relations between the archbishop and the king’s father continued to be close, and St.
Eystein was able to get accepted a code of laws some of which were of
great importance for the discipline and good order of the Church. But
one matter which he does not seem to have tackled, at any rate
directly, was clerical celibacy, which was not observed in the
Scandinavian churches at that time (cf. the contemporary St. Thorlac
in Iceland). It was perhaps for this reason that St. Eystein founded communities of Augustinian canons regular, to set an example to the
Most of St. Eystein’s activities as they have come down to us are
matters of the general history of his country rather than his own
life, and were always directed towards the free action of the
spiritual power among a unified people. This brought him into
collision with Magnus’s rival for the throne, Sverre, and in rr8r the archbishop fled to England; from whence he is said to have
Jocelyn of Brakelond, the chronicler of the abbey of St. Edmundsbury
in Suffolk, writes:“‘While the abbacy was vacant the archbishop of
Norway, Augustine [the name of which Eystein is the Scandinavian form;
cf. the English ‘Austin'], dwelt with us in the abbot’s lodgings, and
by command of the king received ten shillings every day from the
revenues of the abbot”.
He assisted us greatly to gain freedom of election. It was on this
occasion that the famous Samson was elected abbot.
It is significant that St. Eystein had a strong devotion for St.
Thomas Becket, which later became common in the Norwegian church, and
it is reasonable to suppose that he visited his shrine at Canterbury
and it seems that it was in England that he wrote The Passion and
Miracles of the Blessed Olaf.
Eystein returned to Norway in 1183, and he was in his ship in Bergen
harbor when Sverre attacked Magnus’s ships there and forced the king
to flee to Denmark. In the following year Magnus lost his life in a
renewal of the struggle, and it may be assumed that the archbishop was reconciled with King Sverre. Certainly when Eystein was on his
death-bed four years later Sverre visited him, and Sverre’s Saga says, “They were then altogether reconciled and each forgave the other
those things which had been between them.”
St. Eystein died on January 26, 1188, and in 1229 a synod at Nidaros declared his sanctity. This decree has never been confirmed at Rome,
although the preliminary investigations have been begun several times
but have always petered out for various reasons. Matthew of
Westmthster in the 13th century refers to him as a man whose holiness
was attested by outstanding and authentic miracles.
As has been said, St. Eystein’s work was to break the hold of a semi-barbarous nobility over the Church in Norway and to set it more
free to work peacefully for her children. This meant that his own life
was one of devoted conflict, in which he learned by experience that,
in the words of his friend Theodoric, “ It is one thing to control the rashness of the wicked by means of earthly force and the sword, but
quite another to lead souls gently with the tenderness and care of a shepherd.”
The sources for the life of St. Eystein have mostly to be extracted
from documents of the general history of Norway, such as Sverre’s
Saga. What is known of him is fitted into a snore detailed account of
the historical background by Mrs Sigrid Undset in her Saga of Saints
(1934). The manuscript of Eystein’s Passio et miracula beati Olavi was
found in England and edited by F. Metcalfe (1881). This manuscript
once belonged to Fountains Abbey.
"The spirit of Christian charity lives not within you, if you lament
the body from which the soul has departed, but lament not the soul
from which God has departed."
--St. Augustine (Doctor, 354-430) - "Catechism of the Council of Trent"
"Purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and
weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into
sorrow" (James 4:8-9)
"the death of sinners is very evil" (Ps 33:21)
I am going to reveal to you the secret of sanctity and happiness.
Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your
eyes to the things of sense and your ears to all the noises of the
world, in order to enter into yourself.
Then in the sanctity of your Baptized soul, [which is the Temple of
the Holy Spirit] speak to that Divine Spirit, saying to Him:
Oh, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul. I adore Thee.
Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me.
Tell me what I should do . . . give me Thy orders.
I promise to submit myself to all that Thou desireth of me
and to accept all that Thou doth permit to happen to me.
Let me only know Thy will.
If you do this, your life will flow along happily, serenely and full
of consolation, even in the midst of trials. Grace will be
proportioned to the trial, giving you the strength to carry it and you
will arrive at the gates of Paradise, laden with merit.
This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity.