Be it mine to look up to thy light, even from afar, even from the depths. Teach me to seek thee, and reveal thyself to me when I seek thee, for I cannot seek thee except thou teach me, nor find thee, except thou reveal thyself. Let me seek thee in longing, let me long for thee in seeking; let me find thee in love, and love thee in finding.
Lord, I acknowledge and I thank thee that thou hast created me in this thine image, in order that I may be mindful of thee, may conceive of thee, and love thee; but that image has been so consumed and wasted away by vices, and obscured by the smoke of wrong–doing, that it cannot achieve that for which it was made, except thou renew it, and create it anew.
I do not endeavor, O Lord, to penetrate thy sublimity, for in no wise do I compare my understanding with that; but I long to understand in some degree thy truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe: that unless I believed I should not understand.
Saint Anselm (1033–1109) was from northern Italy but came to Normandy and then to England as Archbishop of Canterbury. In the midst of heavy administrative duties he found time to write philosophical and theological treatises in defense of his faith. This passage appeals directly to the heart and needs no argument. The translation is from David A. Fleming, S.M., ed., The Fire and the Cloud (New York: Paulist Press, 1978).