Saint Bede the Venerable
Today’s saint of the day is St. Bede the Venerable (672 – 735) Benedictine monk and doctor of the church.
Bede entered the local Benedictine monastery when he was seven years old, and was educated and lived there until his death at the age of 63. He was ordained a deacon at 19 and a priest at 30. He was an avid man of letters who spent all his life serving the Lord through learning, teaching and writing. The majority of his work was commentary on Holy Scripture, which he endeavored to accomplish in full conformity with the teachings of the Fathers of the Church. He subordinated all his studies to the service of the interpretation of Scripture, which was for him the apex of all learning. He also completed works on mathematics, poetry, astronomy, philosophy, and music – he was a composer of several important early works of Gregorian plain chant.
Bede’s most enduring accomplishment, however, is in the field of history. He is known as the “Father of English history,” due to his great work, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Virtually nothing is known about pre-8th century England from sources other than his book, the driving theme of which is the manner in which violence and savagery have been constantly overrun by the spiritual, doctrinal, and cultural unity of the Church. At the time of Bede’s writing, all of England had been finally united under Christianity.
Bede was much loved and admired by his fellow monks in the monastery in which he lived all his life and rarely ever left, and it is said that the title ‘venerable’ was accorded him while he was still alive. On his death, Cuthbert, one of his disciples said of him, “I can with truth declare that I never saw with my eyes or heard with my ears anyone return thanks so unceasingly to the living God.”
Patron: Lectors; historians
Prayer to St. Bede
Careful Historian and Doctor of the Church, lover of God and of truth, you are a natural model for all readers of God’s inspired Word. Move lectors to prepare for public reading by prayerfully pondering the sacred texts and invoking the Holy Spirit. Help them to read in such a way that those who hear may attain learning and edification. Amen.