Our Morning Offering – 4 February – The Memorial of Blessed Rabanus Maurus (776-856)
Veni Creator Spiritus
By Blessed Rabanus Maurus (776-856)
Come, Creator, Spirit,
come from Your bright heavenly throne,
come take possession of our souls
and make them all Your own.
You who are called the Paraclete,
best gift of God above,
the living spring,
the vital fire,
sweet christ’ning and true love. . . .
O guide our minds with Your best light,
with love our hearts inflame
and with Your strength,
which ne’er decays,
confirm our mortal frame.
Far from us drive our deadly foe,
true peace unto us bring
and through all perils lead us safe
beneath Your sacred wing.
Through You may we the Father know,
through You th’eternal Son
and You the Spirit of them both,
thrice-blessed Three in One. . . .
Today, 4 February, us the Memorial of Blessed Rabanus Maurus.
Rabanus Maurus was a young boy who loved to study and became a disciple of the great Englishmen who brought learning and holiness to the kingdom of Charlemagne. He was born in 784, when the Carolingian renaissance was at its height and his parents sent him to be educated at St Boniface’s great monastery of Fulda, which had a famous school. So remarkable was he as a student that the Abbot of Fulda sent him to study under Charlemagne’s own schoolmaster, Alcuin, at Tours and it was under this teacher that he received the name Maurus, after St. Benedict’s favourite disciple. On returning to Fulda, he was first a teacher, then head of the school there, which became famous all over Europe.
He continued the tradition of sacred learning begun by St Boniface and Alcuin. He wrote homilies, scientific treatises, poetry, hymns and commentaries on most of the books of the Bible. Like St Bede, he was the marvel of his time for his learning and was unequalled in his time for his scriptural and patristic learning.
In 822, Blessed Rabanus Maurus was elected abbot of Fulda and the monastery flourished under his guidance. He increased the library, built new buildings and fostered learning of every kind. In 842, he retired, planning to live a life of prayer in solitude for the rest of his life.
In 847, he was chosen to be archbishop of Mainz, at the age of sixty-three and the last years of his life were spent directing the affairs of his diocese, holding provincial synods, and directing a multitude of charitable works. During a famine, he fed three hundred poor people at his own house. He became bedridden shortly before his death and from the moment of his death was regarded as a saint.
He was buried at the monastery of St Alban’s in Mainz but later his relics were transferred to Halle.