Anitergia

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Leo quoque Nonantulanus abbas ad memoriam redit, qui dum clericalem adhuc speciem gereret, iamque devotione peracta, ab Hierosolymis remeasset, sic vitam suam instituit, ut nil aliud praeter unum dumtaxat asinum possideret. cum hoc quotidie saltus et pascua circumquaque perlustrans materias congerebat, quibus ad requisita naturae necessaria fratribus anitergia ministraret. peracto itaque glorifico huiusmodi opere manuum, psalterioque cum ipsa simul exercitatione decurso protinus ad offerenda Deo sacra mysteria non sine multis lacrimis sanctus presbyter accedebat. postmodum vero ad monasterii regimen violenter attractus, aiebat, quod infelix frequenter et ipse deploro, ‘Iesum’ inquiens ‘per pedes tenui, et nunc miser et caecus saeculi molas volvo.’ vixque peracto biennio in manum Ottonis, qui tunc imperii sceptra regebat, pastoralem baculum reddidit, deinde apud sanctum Bonifacium intra Romana moenia perseverans, ex omni, quod sibi vitae huius residuum fuit, nil aliud quam aeternae vitae sibi stipendia procuravit. ad cuius postmodum sepulturam caecus veniens, luci pristinae asseritur restitutus.
(Petrus Damiani, Epist. 72.65)

Leo, the abbot of Nonantula, also comes to mind. While he was still a cleric and, having satisfied his devotion, was returning from Jerusalem, he began his career possessed of nothing else but a donkey. With it he wandered about every day in the woodlands and fields, gathering material that would serve the brethren to wipe themselves after they had taken care of the needs of nature. Having performed manual tasks of this kind that were to his glory while practicing saying the psalter, he at length was promoted as a holy priest to offering the sacred mysteries to God with many tears. Later, however, when he was compelled to accept the government of the monastery, he stated that he was frequently unhappy. “Jesus, I beg you,” he said, “I grasp your feet and, now miserable and blind, I turn the mills of the world.” Scarcely two years had passed when he restored his pastoral staff to the hands of Otto who was then ruling the empire. Then while staying at St. Boniface in Rome, he kept busy for the rest of his days with nothing but what would win him a reward in eternal life. Afterwards, a blind man came to his tomb and, as is claimed, his sight was restored. (tr. Owen Blum)

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