Order of Premontre, Premonstratensians, Norbertines, and White Canons

03 Prologue

03 Prologue

The “Vita-B” of St. Norbert

also known as 

"The Origins and Spread of the Premonstratensians

Section 3:  Prologue

1. There is no doubt that every faithful and pious soul comes closer to meriting the love and glory of Almighty God the more he hears good about another. He believes much more easily and wishes and hopes that this good be conferred on him by that same God. He who does not believe does not imitate and whoever does not imitate will never attain the goal. Just as the homeland which we seek in the exile of this life is true, likewise the way by which we strive for it is true and singular.

However, along this way, which is blocked by many errors and great difficulties, the examples of holy men - among other benefits of the divine dispensation - have not been lacking to us from the beginning of the world. If we follow in their footsteps we will more eagerly seek the joys of eternal happiness and more surely attain them. Some of these examples are from the past and recorded by others. We can read them. Other examples, however, we ourselves have seen and continue to see.

Since, for the Christian on his journey, nothing is so fitting and necesssary for grasping the rewards of eternal glory than to shape his life by good practices and to occupy himself with praiseworthy endeavors, he therefore gratefully seeks with devotion to discover in the lives of such memorable men whatever commendable features he can, so that, in continual meditation, he may reflect on the worthy deeds of those whose virtue he strives to emulate.

The unfaithful and wicked, however, whose God is their belly[Prologue-1] and whose greatest good is physical pleasure, do not fear to immediately judge false and fake whatever they read or hear because it is foreign to their endeavors and experiences.

Because their conscience is foul and impure, they hate justice and suspect truth. They do not cease to turn the simple from the way of salvation and subvert them by the example of their own corrupt and wretched lives.

2. Because of the obstinate and reprehensible shamelessness of such men, when I decided to write about the Premonstratensians, in our own times praised for their devoutness and holy life and approved before God and men, I was forced to omit many things - at most mentioning them briefly - although they are known to everyone, lest corrupt people dare to deny them. On the contrary when I considered the deeds of those about whom I am writing and I observed their growth, I realized in a strange way that theirs is the work not of men but of God.

Recalling the Gospel passage in which the Good Master and Savior of all, Jesus Christ, said: "By their fruits you shall know them"[Prologue-2] and "a bad tree cannot bear good fruit"[Prologue-3], I checked out the tree from which so much good fruithad come. And when I inquired a little more carefully into the origin and source of the matter, I encountered Father Norbert of pious and revered memory. Concerning this man, as the course and order of the story requires, I shall record briefly a few things which I have heard told about him from the legitimate and faithful testimony of others and facts which I myself know. So that I do not bore the reader with my wordiness, I will take care to narrate these events clearly and arrange them by chapter as carefully as I can.

I begin my story with the aforementioned Father who was the first of this community. Moreover, it should be known that, although many have composed his life and deeds, I have found none who pursued the matter fully and in proper order. In order not to make the same mistake, some of those who had been constantly with him from the beginning met together and after careful examination decided that the data of the events should be written down in a timely sequence according to the agreement of most of those consulted.

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