Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April 4: St. Isidore of Seville, Patron of the Internet

Isidore was born at Cartagena in Spain in the year 560. His two brothers, Leander and Fulgentius, both bishops, and his sister Florentina, are saints. As a boy Isidore was discouraged because he failed in his studies, and he ran away from school. Later he decided to go back and try again. With the help of God, he became one of the most learned men of his time.

Isidore helped in converting the leader of the Arian party, and delivered Spain from this heresy. Following a call from God, he became a hermit even though his friends pleaded with him. After his brother's death he became the Archbishop of Seville. As a teacher, ruler, founder, and reformer, he labored not only in his own diocese, but throughout Spain, and even in foreign countries. He presided at the Fourth Council of Toledo.
Isidore wrote many books. He governed his diocese about thirty-seven years.

In 633, three years before his death, he presided over the Fourth National Council of Toledo, which enacted a decree commanding all bishops in Spain to establish seminaries in their Cathedral Cities, along the lines of the school already existing at Seville.

He died in Seville on April 4, 636, and within sixteen years of his death was declared a Doctor of the Church.

St. Isidore is the patron saint of computer programmers and of the Internet. He was so named because he produced one of the world's first databases in the form of a twenty-volume encyclopedia called the Etymologies. He was the first Christian writer to attempt to compile all the knowledge in the world at the time. His encyclopedia preserved many fragments of classical learning which otherwise would have been lost to the world.

The following prayers are courtesy of Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:
A prayer before logging onto the internet:
Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in Thine image
and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,
especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
grant, we beseech Thee,
that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor,
during our journeys through the internet
we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee
and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Latin:
Orátio ante colligatiónem in interrete:

Omnípotens aetérne Deus,
qui secúndum imáginem Tuam nos plasmásti
et ómnia bona, vera, et pulchra,
praesértim in divína persóna Unigéniti Fílii Tui
Dómini nostri Iesu Christi, quáerere iussísti,
praesta, quaésumus,
ut, per intercessiónem Sancti Isidóri, Epíscopi et Doctóris,
in peregrinatiónibus per interrete,
et manus oculósque ad quae Tibi sunt plácita intendámus
et omnes quos convenímus cum caritáte ac patiéntia accipiámus.
Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.