For All The Saints: Isidore of Seville (Once Again)

Saint Isidore of Seville’s life story lets us know that for centuries Christian witnesses have helped to restore the Church by synthesizing contemplation and action. As the Church celebrates his feast day, we can learn a few things about our own lives from his example. In particular, we can understand that a holy life is not one in which we remove ourselves from the world; rather it is a life where we embrace the people and circumstances Christ brings to us.

He’s called the last scholar of the ancient world. His most important work, the 20-volume Etymologaie, is considered the world’s first encyclopedia. It was widely used for 1,000 years. He was an advocate of reading the Bible. “Reading the holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man’s attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God.” 

But he wasn’t an egg-head academic; he was a man of both thought and action. As an archbishop. St. Isidore also oversaw the Second Synod of Seville (619) and the Fourth National Council of Toledo (633), both meetings that unified Church teaching at a critical time in her history. This, along with St. Isidore’s establishment of schools to study every area of learning, not insignificantly, made Spain a center of culture and learning.

This record of accomplishment is a bit intimidating, yes? Most of us don’t occupy positions of power or authority and won’t have the chance to reform the Church or write works of enduring value. What can we learn from his life?

St. Isidore tells us that only by engaging in the reality before us can we hope to understand God. “Those who seek to attain repose in contemplation must first train in the stadium of active life; and then, free from the dross of sin, they will be able to display that pure heart which alone makes the vision of God possible.”

  • Art4thesoul

    St Isidore! Why so little known? For his "Yearn to Learn" emphasis and his vast accomplishments he has been proposed as the Patron of the internet, internet users and computer programers.Special prayer before using the internet;Almighty and eternal God, who created us in thy image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thy only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee that, through the intersession of St. 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.

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful prayer Art4thesoul. Thanks for posting it.

  • Allison

    I'd like to mention that Art4theSoul created a beautiful retablo of St. Isidore for my son's confirmation gift. That is his patron saint…..

  • Karen

    Patron saint of technology. He and I have become friends this year…especially when my promethean board is being difficult. :-)

  • Anonymous

    We did a Novena to St Isidore at work when we were facing an especially challenging ugrade roll out, the largest we ever faced. I put together this Novena based off of the one above, but then changed it to fit our needs. It was a great success! Almighty and eternal God,who has created us in Thy image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,especially in the divine personof Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.Grant we beseech Thee that,through the intercession of Saint Isidore, who personified your gift of knowledge,all those involved in our work will use the skills and intellect you so graciously bestowed upon us to ensure the success of our upgrade. May the fruits of this prayer bear witness of your care and intervention in the lives of your people.Through Christ our Lord, Amen. St Isidore gatherer of universal knowledge, pray for us. St Isidiore patron saint of technology, pray for us. St Isidore protector of truth, pray for us! Amen

  • De Liliis

    'The sky is named caelum because, just as an engraved vase, caelatum vas, it has the lights of the stars impressed on it, as if designs. A vase is called caelatum because it shines with its raised decorations. God adorned and filled the sky with bright lights: the sun, the shining orb of the moon, and the splendid constellations of the glittering stars. . .'St. Isidore of Seville, EtymologiesInspirational Quotes from the Saints

  • IttyBittyScraps

    Hey! This is "Jayne" from Facebook. I wanted to say great blog post. St. Isidore De Seville is my confirmation saint. I am a computer scientist working as a software developer – creating web applications. (As well as phone applications too. :) )I used to say a prayer before going into work to him to help make my day (filled with programming code, configuration files, web/windows forms…) go much easier. I admit, I have stopped praying and asking for his intercessions. I also admit that when I did, my day always went smoother. I wish I could remember that little prayer I came up with. If I do, I'll post it here.