St Anselm, a Tribute.

St Anselm, a Tribute.

Emmanuel Nuh Mbeh mhm

A glowing tribute on his feastday to St Anselm, and to the institute namend after him – St Anselm's, Margate, Kent UK – by a passionate admirer.

Saint Anselm the Great!

Who has done (Medieval) Philosophy and not been thrilled by Saint Anselm of Canterbury, particularly his Dialogue with Gaunilo and the famous masterpiece ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT of the rational and systematic ‘proof’ of God’s existence? Who has been into Westminster or Canterbury Cathedrals and not noticed the epitaphs or Chapels of the great Saint Anselm? What inspired Cardinal Basil Hume in the 1980s, the founding president of the Institute of Saint Anselm to give the Institute that name/patron, not Saint Basil the Great himself? Anselm the great, humble, noble Italian Benedictine monk, Abbot, philosopher, theologian, Father of Scholasticism, bishop, son and leader of the Church and follower and servant of Christ! It came to me by lot, luck or providence to do an expose and present in class your thoughts in my second term as a Philosophy student in March 1999 at the PCJ Uganda and I still recall with nostalgia how my classmates were amused by my passionate presentation, although I was stumbling over trepidation and amateurism before your systematic and logical thoughts. Providence made you patron of the noble Institute that fosters, trains and heals leaders, formators or religious on sabbatical through the ingenuity of Len Kofler. Providence brought me to the same! Providence grants me to scribble these imperfect lines of praise and tribute to you and the Institute on your feast day, your Memorial. HAPPY FEAST DAY! Saint Anselm – Saint and Institute! With you I pray Lord, Let me know you and love you, so that I may find my joy in you.

Saint Anselm, a saint to know: He lived between 1033 and 1109 and his feast day is 21st April. He was the archbishop of Cantebury and a confessor; his motto was faith seeking understanding or, an active love of God seeking a deeper knowledge of God. His works include the Monologium, speaking alone to explain the metaphysical proof of God's nature, the Proslogium, contemplating God's attributes; On Truth, On Free Will, On the Fall of the Devil, on the Origin of Evil, on the Art of reasoning. These reflections are from Google, Catholic online; St. Anselm – saints and Angels.

In his Proslogion, Anselm sought to find a single argument that needed nothing but itself alone for proof, that would by itself be enough to show that God really exists; that he is the supreme good, who depends on nothing else, but on whom all things depend for their being and for their well-being. Medievals scholars called it "Anselm's" argument (ratio Anselmi). Immanuel Kant later applied the term, the "ontological argument". Anselm defined his belief in the existence of God using the phrase "that than which nothing greater can be conceived". He reasoned that, if "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" existed only in the intellect, it would not be "that than which nothing greater can be conceived", since it can be thought to exist in reality, which is greater. It follows, according to Anselm, that "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" must exist in reality. The bulk of the Proslogion is taken up with Anselm's attempt to establish the identity of "that than which nothing greater can be conceived" as God, and thus to establish that God exists in reality. Anselm's ontological proof has been the subject of controversy since it was first published in the 1070s. It was opposed at the time by the monk Gaunilo, in his Liber pro Insipiente, on the grounds that humans cannot pass from intellect to reality. Anselm replied to the objections in his Responsio. Gaunilo's criticism is repeated by several later philosophers, among whom are Thomas Aquinas and Kant. Anselm wrote a number of other arguments for the existence of God, based on cosmological and teleological grounds.

Arriving at the Institute of Saint Anselm here in Margate, Kent, UK
on the 30th of September 2014 and joining the 30th batch of the Institute and into Room 7 on my 7th year of priesthood, I pondered what this could mean; I wondered vaguely what game or deal was on – that providential twist that sometimes props up over and beyond coincidence. Looking back after a couple of months thence, I described and reflected on my experiences as follows: Saint Anselm, a place to be! The director, staff, the team, the house, the rooms, the programmes all seem to speak the same language, consciously and unpretentiously! A place to be! What strikes me most is the input. It is one of rare so organised and efficient institutes or programmes. Talk of a square peg in a square hole. The planning, professionalism, teamwork, humanness, responsibility, commitment, sessions, contents, atmosphere and desired effects all defeat my understanding and all seem to imply what Saint Augustine is quoted saying in the Office of Readings for 26th September’s Memorial of Saints Cosmas and Damien:

“At a grand table you have sat; now carefully consider what has been put before you, since it is your duty to prepare a similar meal.” That table is great where the Lord of the table is himself the meal. No one feeds guests with himself as food, but this is exactly what the Lord Christ does; he himself is the host who invites; he himself is the food and the drink…”

That is what I and many participants, team, staff, board and benefactors experience or contribute towards. Various good appellations can fit Saint Anselm’s Institute; an oasis, the upper room, an uplifter, psycho-spiritual school, EQ/SQ/IQ Centre …. or simply A PLACE TO BE. My boundless admiration, affirmation, congratulations to the vision of the founder and director, to the board, to Mill Hill Missionaries and all stake holders. If anything exists as indispensably called CARE FOR CARERS, Saint Anselm is that thing, that place. For those who can afford it, please hurry up as if to the Jordan waters or massage parlour or after tears party. For those who cannot afford, I lack words to say anything. The challenge to the institute is to go to carers all over the world if the carers cannot come to you – to every country, diocese, religious community, novitiate, seminary or province. The facilitation skills, the Transactional analysis, the Enneagram, Inner Child work, EQBW, Group Dynamics, conflict transformation, spiritual and sacramental healing, psycho-spiritual maturation, sexual maturity and integration and many other practical topics awakened, enlivened, enlightened, blended and polished at Saint Anselm is a note worthy task. Saint Anselm is a place to be, a space to work on oneself!!!

Emmanuel Nuh Mbeh mhm

Graduation at St Anselm's 2015. Mill Hill staff, particpants, guests.

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