A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Lawyer and beggar

Raymond was a brilliant student. By the time he was 20 he was already teaching canon law and philosophy. In his thirties, he went away to further his canon law studies.

During these latter studies, he had significant contact with a religious order that had just been started a few years before: derided by some as “the beggar monks.” Already a priest, Raymond decided to join them.

The order decided to make full use of his abilities and had him write a book on canon law that became one of the most important books on canon law throughout the Church. Eventually his reputation as a canon lawyer grew so great that the Pope asked Raymond to help revise the entirety of canon law (which had become very disorganized over the years).

The Pope wanted to make Raymond an Archbishop, but he declined. However, he could not keep his order from electing him their new head.

He served only two years before stepping down, but during that time he used his talents well by revising the order’s constitutions. He also asked one of the other members of his very young order (a fellow named Thomas whose intellect was also being widely praised) to write a book to explain the faith to unbelievers. St. Thomas Aquinas’ book would be known as the Summa Contra Gentiles – one of the most important works of theology ever.

St. Raymond of Peñafort, one of history’s greatest canon lawyers and the third Master General of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans), after a hundred years of devout and active life, died seven hundred and thirty-four years ago yesterday and his memory is celebrated on this day.

from a earlier post)