Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Saint Isidore of Seville

Bishop, Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church

Saint Isidore of Seville (also known as Isidore the Bishop; Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages) was born in 560 A.D., at Cartagena, Spain. He was the son of Severianus and Theodora, people known for their piety. He was the younger brother of Saint Fulgentius, Saint Florentina, and Saint Leander of Seville, who raised him after their father's death.

At first he was a poor student, but he gave the problem over to God and became one of the most learned men of his time. He was ordained a priest, and he helped his brother Leander, archbishop of Seville, in the conversion of the Visigoth Arians. His brother Saint Leander died around 600, and in 601 Isidore succeeded him as Archbishop of Seville.

During his episcopacy he devoted his energies to promoting science, establishing schools and convents, and welding into one single nation the various peoples composing the Hispano-Gothic kingdom. Saint Isidore was a teacher, a founder, and a reformer. He required seminaries in every diocese, and he wrote a rule for religious orders. He was a prolific writer, his works including a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation.

He also introduced the works of Aristotle to Spain. He completed the Mozarabic liturgy which is still in use in Toledo, Spain. He presided at both the Second Council of Seville in 619, and the Fourth Council of Toledo in 633. He is important for his literary work, and his mastery of all branches of knowledge of his day.

Saint Isidore of Seville is generally held to be the last of the Latin Fathers of the Church, and he was proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1722. He became the leading candidate for patron of computer users and the Internet in 1999.

Saint Isidore of Seville died of natural causes in 636 at Seville, Spain. His relics are in his own church at Leon, Spain.

Below are some quotations from Saint Isidore of Seville:

Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading. If a man wants to be always in God’s company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us. All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection. By reading we learn what we did not know; by reflection we retain what we have learned. Reading the holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man’s attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God. The conscientious reader will be more concerned to carry out what he has read than merely to acquire knowledge of it. In reading we aim at knowing, but we must put into practice what we have learned in our course of study. The more you devote yourself to study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest. The man who is slow to grasp things but who really tries hard is rewarded, equally he who does not cultivate his God-given intellectual ability is condemned for despising his gifts and sinning by sloth. Learning unsupported by grace may get into our ears; it never reaches the heart. But when God’s grace touches our innermost minds to bring understanding, his word which has been received by the ear sinks deep into the heart.

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Heresy is from the Greek word meaning ‘choice’…. But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the Apostles of God as authorities, who did not…choose what they would believe but faithfully transmitted the teachings of Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema.

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The more we are afflicted in this world, the greater is our assurance in the next; the more sorrow in the present, the greater will our joy be in the future.

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Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.

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