Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033–1109) and his famous prayer


Many of us may have heard the famous line of Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033–1109), “I believe so that I may understand” (Credo ut intelligam).  That famous line is part of a longer (and very profound) prayer we may not have heard.  Here it is (at least part of it).  Read it slowly and deeply.

“I acknowledge, Lord, and I give thanks that You have created Your image in me, so that I may remember You, think of You, love You.  But this image is so effaced and worn away by vice, so darkened by the smoke of sin, that it cannot do what it was made to do unless You renew and reform it.  I do not try, Lord, to attain Your lofty heights, because my understanding is in no way equal to it.  But I do desire to understand Your truth a little, that truth my heart believes and loves.  For I do not seek to understand so that I may believe; but I believe so that I may understand.  For I believe this also, that ‘unless I believe, I shall not understand’ [Is. 7:9].”

Amen. This prayer puts us in our rightful place before God: bowing at his feet, in need of everything.

The quote is found in Proslogion, which can be found in Anselm of Canterbury: The Major Works, p. 87.

One thought on “Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033–1109) and his famous prayer

  1. […] Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033 – 1109) and his famous prayer ( […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s