Saints' Prayers

selected from the annals of history unto our current day


Meditations by St. Anselm of Canterbury

from the book, 'Meditations and Prayers'

The meditations or addresses to God which follow, inasmuch as they are put forth in the hope of rousing the reader's mind to the love or the fear of God, or to a careful scrutiny of himself, must not be read in the midst of noise, but in silence; nor yet rapidly, but in a leisurely manner, with close and severe study of their meaning.

Nor should the reader make it his aim to peruse any one of them from end to end without break; but just so much of it as he feels may be of service to him for enkindling a desire for prayer, or so much as may serve to refresh him.

Nor is there any need for him always to begin any one of them from the beginning; let him, on the contrary. begin where he prefers. And, indeed, it is for this reason that they have been divided into sections; * that the reader may easily choose a place for beginning or for stopping, and so avoid the weariness and annoyance which would be produced by too prolonged application to the book, or by repeated reperusal of one and the same passage; and that he may thus be the more likely to reap some pious dispositions from them; for this was the end had in view in their composition.

* Of the meditations attributed to St. Anselm, the majority, as we find them in the printed editions, are not characterised by bracketed headings or by subtitles; nor are their obvious subdivisions indicated by what we should call unbroken paragraphs. The translator has therefore ventured to insert into such of the meditations as do not in the printed editions show where they are capable of an unforced subdivision, a suitable subtitle, or at least a numerical indication. He has done this not irreverently, he trusts, to the saint, nor impertinently, he ventures to hope, to the reader. To the compassion of the one and to the indulgence of the other does he commit himself; adding only this, that whatever has been inserted by him is included within square brackets.

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