Above: France in 1154 C.E.
SAINT GERVINUS (DIED 1075)
Roman Catholic Abbot and Scholar
Born at Rheims, St. Gervinus studied at the cathedral school there. Also ordained priest there, the saint became canon at Rheims. Later he became a monk at St. Vanne Abbey, Verdun; there the saint earned a reputation for being scholarly and well-informed. In 1045 King Henry I (reigned 1031-1060) appointed the saint Abbot at St. Riquier. St. Gervinus, as abbot, traveled widely to preach. Along the way he also heard many confessions and collected Greek and Latin manuscripts for his library. (A man is entitled to an excellent library.) Unfortunately, the saint suffered from leprosy for the last four years of his life.
One of the more unfortunate characteristics of some strains of Christianity is anti-intellectualism, combined with an excessive focus on emotionalism. Yet Christianity–Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and Anglicanism–has a commendable legacy of encouraging intellectualism. I can think of adherents (some of them still living) of all four strains of Christianity who exemplify honoring God fully, including with one’s intellect. May we, like St. Gervinus, honor and seek God with our brain cells.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
DECEMBER 12, 2011 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF JANE FRANCES DE CHANTAL, FOUNDER OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE VISITATION
THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, WRITER
your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,
and to another the insight of wisdom,
and to another the steadfastness of faith.
We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant St. Gervinus,
and we pray that by his teaching
we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth we have seen
in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
—Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61
Below: The Scholar and His Books, by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout