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My favorite writing from +Boniface:
A letter by St Boniface
The careful shepherd watches over Christ’s flock
In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of lifes different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.
The ancient fathers showed us how we should carry out this duty: Clement, Cornelius and many others in the city of Rome, Cyprian at Carthage, Athanasius at Alexandria. They all lived under emperors who were pagans; they all steered Christs ship or rather his most dear spouse, the Church. This they did by teaching and defending her, by their labours and sufferings, even to the shedding of blood.
I am terrified when I think of all this. Fear and trembling came upon me and the darkness of my sins almost covered me. I would gladly give up the task of guiding the Church which I have accepted if I could find such an action warranted by the example of the fathers or by holy Scripture.
Since this is the case, and since the truth can be assaulted but never defeated or falsified, with our tired mind let us turn to the words of Solomon: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own prudence. Think on him in all your ways, and he will guide your steps. In another place he says: The name of the Lord is an impregnable tower. The just man seeks refuge in it and he will be saved.
Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon Gods strengthening aid and say to him: O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.
Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful and he tells us: My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Let us continue the fight on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us; if God so wills, let us die for the holy laws of our fathers, so that we may deserve to obtain an eternal inheritance with them.
Let us be neither dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers nor paid servants who run away before the wolf. Instead let us be careful shepherds watching over Christs flock. Let us preach the whole of Gods plan to the powerful and to the humble, to rich and to poor, to men of every rank and age, as far as God gives us the strength, in season and out of season, as Saint Gregory writes in his book of Pastoral Instruction.
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I went to St. Boniface Catholic grade school! Our team was the “Blades” and it was a great little parish school, staffed by Dominican nuns.
it was built in the 700's so it was likely built while St. Boniface was bishop.
I read the first one of those biographies, written by a relative of St. Boniface, a guy named St. Willibald, in about AD 780. It's available in translation from the original Latin.
I'm surprised the Pope didn't mention St. Boniface's most famous episode, but I guess it's not politically correct in today's green, and neo-pagan world.
At the peak of Boniface's ministry he confronted a large crowd of pagan Germans gathered around a huge ancient tree called Thor's Oak (Donner Eiche in German). Pagan Europeans had an animist religion where they worshiped the spirits of trees, rocks, and things nature in general. Such worship would include at times even human sacrifice.
Anyway, according to his first biographer Wilibald, Boniface took an axe, and started to chop the ancient evil oak down, and after a blow or two "suddenly a great wind, as if by miracle" blew the tree over...
The crowd of pagan Germans believed and were baptized! The wood from the oak was used to build a chapel on the spot.
Currently a Cathedral is there, in the incredibly charming little village of Fritzlar, in central Germany.
I've been there--and a modern statue of Boniface there makes him look like this destructive fanatic, with no sensitivity for others' religions (or trees).... I've also heard the event described this way by a graduate from a liberal seminary.
Also, at Boniface's death, he apparently used his bible as a shield, and the book got stabbed, right before he died. They later actually found that book, and it is preserved in some German library somewhere. Most images of Boniface show him holding up a bible with a sword stuck in it...