Fulgentius of Ruspe

“Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven.  Hold fast to love, therefore, in all sincerity, and give one another practical proof of it.”
– Fulgentius of Ruspe (468?-533)
Practical proof of love?  Oh!  Does that mean pretty baubles and eBooks?  Probably not.  I think the key word here is “practical.”  Darn it!
Fulgentius (how’s that for a name?) of Ruspe is the Saint for today and practical he was.  He took care of his widowed mother, but on reading St. Augustine’s comments on Psalm 36 he felt that worldly success was not worth it and became a monk.  This is a man who endured a lot for the faith.  His mother was not happy that he turned to religious life.  She probably felt his first duty was to her.  He was actually scourged on order of an Arian priest for defending the Catholic faith!

Fulgentius was appointed bishop of Ruspe in 508, but the Arian king Thrasimund exiled him and sixty other bishops to Sardinia.  Fulgentius decided to start another monastery for the persecuted bishops and wrote treatises against Arianism.  King Thrasimund invited Fulgentius back to Carthage (where he had tried to start a monastery when he was exiled) and boldly defended orthodoxy against Arian debaters.  He returned to Ruspe when the king died and his reputation spread as a pastor and preacher.

So we are back to practical.  For me it starts at home.  I try to have what we need in the house so that the day to day gears turn smoothly.  Sometimes it’s that horrific moment when I realize there is no toilet paper or worse, coffee filters that jar me into a more practical mode.
But it can also mean, having the favorite coffee brand as a special treat for my husband and I or the drinks my children like or just the Ramon noodles they seem to devour.
My life is hardly like Fulgentius’, but it’s the every day responsibilities that make me feel that I’m taking one step at a time on that stairway to heaven.

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