23 May 2008

Vincent of Lerins

Presbyter and Monk

Vincent of Lerins was born into a noble family of Gaul (which is located in what is now France). He began his life as a soldier, but gave up that profession and instead elected to dedicate his life to God as a monk at a monastery on the island of Lerins. He was ordained there and in about 434 authored his famous work the Commonitorium. This work offered a guide to orthodox teaching and included his famous maxim, the Vincentian Canon, by which he hoped to be able to differentiate between true and false tradition. In it he states that the true Catholic faith consists of “what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all”. He believed that the ultimate source of Christian truth was Holy Scripture and that the authority of the Church was only to be invoked to guarantee the correct interpretation of Scripture.

In addition to his defense of the primitive Catholic faith, Vincent opposed the definition of Original Sin that Augustine of Hippo was developing. Vincent, instead, supported what became known in theological circles as Semi-Pelagianism. Where Augustine taught that mankind was unable to seek God at all, Vincent and the other monks of Southern Gaul taught that it is necessary for humans to make the first step toward God and then God will complete salvation.

Vincent is considered, by many, the patron of the Primitive Catholic movement.

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God,
your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,
and to another the insight of wisdom,
and to another the steadfastness of faith.
Today, as we celebrate the feast of your servant Vincent,
we praise you for the grace that led him
to a fuller knowledge of the truth.
Grant that we, who today live out our faith,
may cling to what has been believed always, everywhere, by all
who have followed the path of your Son,
our Savior Jesus Christ.
To him, to you, and to the Spirit
be glory, honor, and praise,
now and ever,
and unto ages of ages.


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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