The life of St Norbert as an itinerant preacher

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful,
and enkindle within them the fire of Thy love.

℣ Send forth Thy Spirit, O Lord
℟ And Thou shall renew the face of the earth

Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us that by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in His holy consolations. Through Christ our Lord. ℟ Amen.

The Ordination of St Norbert. "I want to be ordained deacon and priest at the same time. My conscience demands it. You will not be able to understand it now, but you will understand it later."

The Ordination of St Norbert. “I want to be ordained deacon and priest at the same time. My conscience demands it. You will not be able to understand it now, but you will understand it later.”

After completely putting aside and rejecting his temporal baggage, he settled down and prepared himself with strength of mind to bear every type of poverty and need. He then entered upon the steep and sublime way of a holy life. Barefoot and clothed in a woolen tunic and content with only a cloak, with no roof over his head and no sure residence, with strength of mind he overcame the harsh winder and sharp cold. With Christ as his only leader, he set out with two like-minded companions.

Protected by the shield of patience and supported by the strength of faith, Norbert preached to everyone and announced the Word of God “when convenient,” as it is said, “and when inconvenient.”

When he reached the south of France, he found Pope Gelasius, who succeeded Paschal. He confessed to him his wish and the intention of his heart. The Pope, seeing his prudence and the Spirit of God which resided in him, wanted Norbert to stay with him. Norbert pleaded with the Pope that he not force him to this obedience. He explained how he had dissipated himself wontonly in the courts of kings and pontiffs and that what he was no asking of him was by no means suited to his youth and the penance he had undertaken. However, if he were to order him to be a canon or a monk or hermit, or even a wandering pilgrim, he would gladly obey him in everything.

When the holy Pope saw Norbert’s determination and the ardent devotion of his mind, as well as hearing about the persecution which he had endured on behalf of the truth, he gave him permission to preach the Word of God not only where he had preached before, but everywhere he wished and was able to do so. He enjoined this task on him in his own name. Moreover, he placed a prohibition on those who had earlier resisted him out of envy so that they not impede the simple man even if they think his preaching is superfluous or less than useful

After Norbert accepted the Apostolic mandate to preach he began his return journey barefoot, just as he had come, in the midst of the excesses of a harsh winter. It must be stated that the man burned with such love toward God that neither the harsh cold nor hunger nor weariness kept him back from what he had begun. No doubt sometimes on that journey the snow reached to his knees, sometimes even to his thighs. Nevertheless, this could not hold him back for even one day

Norbert took no food except Lenten good and then only in the evening, except on Sundays. He ate fish and drank wine very rarely. He gave his body no rest during the day. His spirit rested neither at night nor during the day. He was a man of singular faith and great strength.

℣ Being found in the rugged paths of vice by the Guardian of the city,
℟ Stayed by lightning stroke, he put off the old man.

℣ He who was dead lives again;
℟ He who was lost is found.

℣ Having laid aside his earthly goods
℟ He put on the garment of poverty.

℣ When he found the valley of Prémontré, he cried:
℟ “This is the spot which the Lord has chosen for us.”

℣ What he preached in word, he fulfilled in deed
℟ Confirming the faithful by his miracles and wonderful actions.

℣ He entered Magdeburg barefoot
℟ And clothed in the garment of poverty

℣ Having given his support to the Holy Church of Rome in her afflictions,
℟ Blessing his brethren, he fell asleep in Christ.

Norbert, as a burning light placed on a candlestick, illumined all who dwelt with him.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

℣ Pray for us, O Holy Father Norbert,
℟ That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, who did make of Blessed Norbert, Thy Confessor and Bishop, an excellent preacher of the Word, and by his means did enrich Thy Church with new offspring, grant, we beseech Thee, that through his intercession we may put into practice, by Thy grace, what he taught us, both in word and work.

Awake, O Lord, in Thy Church the Spirit by Whom St. Norbert, Thy Confessor and Bishop was guided, in order that, filled with the same spirit, we may love what he loved and live as he taught us.

O Lord, grant to us Thy servant’s constancy in Thy faith and service, that, rooted in Divine charity, we may not be conquered by any temptation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

℣ Praised be the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar
℟ And the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


About piusdcollins

Canon of the Premonstratensian Canonry of Our Lady of Sorrows and St Philip Benizi, Chelmsford.
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