Double (1955 Calendar): June 6
Today the Holy Catholic Church remembers the life of St. Norbert (c. 1080 - June 6, 1134). Born at Xanten, Germany into nobility, St. Norbert served as an almoner for Emperor Henry V. Living a worldly life, St. Norbert decided to receive Holy Orders only as part of a career move. St. Nobert joined the joined the Benedictines at Siegburg and after a narrow escape from death, took his vows seriously and experienced an interior conversion.
Ordained a priest in 1115 AD, St. Norbert accepted the duty of preaching, particularly in France and Germany. St. Norbert founded a religious community of Augustinian canons at Premontre, France, who became known as the Norbertines or Premonstratensians. St. Norbert was also a friend of Blessed Godfrey of Cappenberg.
Elected Archbishop of Magdeburg in 1126, he reformed clergy in his area and used force when necessary. St. Norbert worked with St. Bernard and St. Hugh of Grenoble to heal the schism caused by the death of Pope Honorius II. St. Norbert also opposed heresy in Cambrai with the help of St. Waltmann. Because of his work, the Faith was spread to nearby pagan nations. St. Norbert died in 1134 AD at Magdeburg, Germany. His relics are in Prague. St. Norbert was canonized in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.
Norbert established a clergy dedicated to the ideals of the Gospel and the apostolic Church. They were chaste and poor. They wore the clothing and the symbols of the new man; that is to say, they wore "the religious habit and exhibited the dignity proper to the priesthood." Norbert asked them "to live according to the norms of the Scriptures with Christ as their model.
The priests lived in community, where they continued the work of the apostles.
When Norbert was appointed as archbishop, he urged his brothers to carry the faith to the lands of the Wends.
Faith was the outstanding virtue of Norbert's life, as charity had been the hallmark of Bernard of Clairvaux. Affable and charming, amiable to one and all, he was at ease in the company of the humble and the great alike. Finally, he was a most eloquent preacher; after long meditation he would preach the word of God and with his fiery eloquence purged vices, refined virtues and filled souls of good will with the warmth of wisdom.
Source: The Life of Saint Norbert
O God, Who didst make blessed Norbert, Thy Confessor and Bishop, an illustrious preacher of Thy word, and through him dist bestow new offspring on Thy Church: grant, we beseech Thee, that through his merits and prayers we may be ale to practice by Thine aid what he taught both by word and deed. Through our Lord.
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal