June 3, 2009.
Papal audience about Rabanus Maurus.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, our catechesis today deals with another great monastic figure of the High Middle Ages, Rabanus Maurus. Rabanus entered monastic life at a young age as an oblate, was trained in the liberal arts and received a broad formation in the Christian tradition. As the Abbot of Fulda and then as Archbishop of Mainz, he contributed through his vast learning and pastoral zeal to the unity of the Empire and the transmission of a Christian culture deeply nourished by the Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church.
From his youth he wrote poetry, and he is probably the author of the famous hymn Veni Creator Spiritus. Indeed, his first theological work was a poem on the Holy Cross, in which the poetry was accompanied by an illuminated representation of the Crucified Christ. This medieval method of joining poetry to pictoral art sought to lift the whole person – mind, heart and senses – to the contemplation of the truth contained in God’s word. In the same spirit Rabanus sought to transmit the richness of the Christian cultural tradition through his prolific commentaries on the Scriptures, his explanations of the liturgy and his pastoral writings. This great man of the Church continues to inspire us by his example of an active ministry nourshed by study, profound contemplation and constant prayer.
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, especially those from England, Ireland, the Philippines and the United States. My particular greeting goes to the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart. I also greet the many student groups present. Upon all of you I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!