The establishment of Prémontré

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 construction of the Abbey of Prémontré. "He came to a place truly according to its very name foreshown, elect and predestined by the Lord."

The construction of the Abbey of Prémontré. “He came to a place truly according to its very name foreshown, elect and predestined by the Lord.”

After the Pope had given permission to preach the Word of God, he asked the venerable Bishop Bartholomew of Laon to look after Norbert, and not long after, the Pope came to Laon. The Bishop, taking counsel with the Pope on how to keep Norbert in the service of his diocese, offered him the Church of St Martin, which was on the edge of the town. There were a few brothers living there under the rule of canonical profession, but Norbert refused on all counts.

Finally, when he was pressed, he agreed to what he was asked lest he offend the Pope and not be obedient, on condition that the canons living there would not refuse the practices which he would teach them according to the evangelical and apostolic institution.

But when Norbert explained the evangelical institution to the brothers, how they were to be imitators of Christ, how they would have to despise the world and be voluntarily poor, how they would have to bear up under reproach and insult and derision and suffer hunger, thirst and nakedness and other things of this sort, how they would have to be obedient to the precepts and rules of the Holy Fathers, they were immediately terrified by his words and said: “we do not want this man over us!

Meanwhile, the bishop was trying to nourish his enfeebled guest, thin from cold and fasting, but he himself was daily fed by his guest through spiritual nourishment of the honey-sweet Word of God. For this reason, he grew very fond of Norbert and urged him with all sorts of arguments to remain in his diocese.

Every day, the bishop took Norbert around and showed him places in the hope that there might be some church he liked, or some lonely place, or some wilderness on which to build. Finally, overcome by the bishop’s pleas and those of many others, both religious and noble, Norbert chose a place extremely deserted and lonely which from of old the inhabitants called Prémontré. Here he pledged to remain if God would allow him to gather his companions.

℣ 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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