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Saturday, June 23, 2018
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Daily Saint

June 6: St. Norbert

Norbert was born in Germany around the year 1080. He was good while a child and teenager. Then at the court of Emperor Henry V, Norbert spent all his time on frivolous things. He thought only of acquiring positions of honor. He was the first to arrive at parties and celebrations. He was thoroughly happy with "the good life." One day, however, he was frightened by a flash of lightning. His horse bolted. Norbert was thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious. When he woke, he began to think seriously about the way his life was going. God felt very near. Norbert realized that the Lord was offering him the grace to change for the better. Gradually, he went back to the idea he had once had several years earlier. He had considered becoming a priest. Now he would. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1115.

Father Norbert worked hard to make others turn from their worldly ways. He gave a good example by selling all he had to give the money to the poor. St. Norbert became the founder of a congregation for the spreading of the faith. His original group began their religious life as a community of thirteen. They lived in the valley of Premontre. That is why they are called Premon-stratensians.They are also called Norbertines, after their founder.

St. Norbert was chosen bishop of the city of Magdeburg. He entered the city wearing very poor clothes and no shoes. The porter at the door of the bishop's house did not know him and refused to let him in. He told him to go join the other beggars. "But he is our new bishop!" shouted those who knew the saint. The porter was shocked and very sorry. "Never mind, dear brother," St. Norbert said kindly. "You judge me more correctly than those who brought me here."

St. Norbert had to combat a heresy which denied that Jesus is really present in the Holy Eucharist. His beautiful words about Our Lord's presence in the Blessed Sacrament brought the people back to their holy faith. In March, 1133, he and his great friend, St. Bernard (whose feast is celebrated on August 20) walked in an unusual procession. They joined the emperor and his army to accompany the true pope, Innocent II, safely to the Vatican.

St. Norbert died in 1134. Pope Gregory XIII proclaimed him a saint in 1582.

Reflection: Am I thinking seriously about the way my life is going? Is my predominant concern acquiring positions of honor, having a "good life," and turning to worldly values? What is God inviting me today?