St Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church (560-636)

Saint Isidore of Seville (560-636)

Born at Cartagena, Spain, about 560; died April 4, 636.

Isidore was the son of Severianus and Theodora. His elder brother Leander was his immediate predecessor in the Metropolitan See of Seville; whilst a younger brother St Fulgentius presided over the Bishopric of Astigi. His sister Florentina was a nun, and is said to have led forty convents.

In Church language, he is the schoolmaster of the Middle Ages

Isidore received his elementary education in the Cathedral school of Seville. In this institution, which was the first of its kind in Spain, the lessons were taught by a body of learned men, among whom was the archbishop, Leander. With such diligence did he apply himself to study that in a remarkably short time mastered Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. This Saint wrote an entire encyclopedia used as a textbook for 900 years and a history of the world. Isidore yearned to learn to become holy and share his gifts and knowledge with the uneducated, those desiring to learn more and those who needed to be re-educated due to ignorance or misconceptions. 

Isidore combined holiness with learning and practiced it daily

He knew that learning without holiness would lead to pride and pain in the soul. He used his home from sunrise to sunset to teach and ministered to the poor, the sinners and the uneducated. This holy man knew that sins can cloud the mind with erroneous thinking and that accurate knowledge can dispel ignorance and guide one's intelligence to a higher clarity and insight into the things of God and humankind.

Mary was totally at one with her Divine Son

The conjecture of the doctors is that inasmuch as Mary and Jesus were so totally at one, she actually wanted to die at the appointed time in imitation of her Son. Her death is referred to as her dormition. She was not a martyr by physical blood but by spiritual desire. Her witness to the crucifixion and sufferings leading up to that nightmare is partly listed in Scripture. Other doctors and saints have written about her pain, suffering and spiritual death. Her witnessing of the shedding of His precious blood and His treatment carrying the cross and the whole scene on Calvary is enough to make us tremble and shudder beyond comprehension. It was only by a miracle that Mary did not died with her Son on Calvary. We know that she was with each one of Jesus' steps that day, each breath and effort and suffering was shared with her beloved Son. Certainly she would have gladly died with Him if it had been God's will.

Jesus Christ is the spouse of virgins

Isidore defines the Virgin Mary as the new earth, upon which the torrent of the Holy Spirit poured down: Mary, the Virgin Mother of the Lord, is quite properly called “earth”… This earth was watered by the Holy Spirit. No creature learned more about the love of God and neighbor than Mary. No creature practiced that knowledge more than Mary did. In the New Testament, Christ is the head of male virgins, and Mary is the head of female virgins. She is their founder, the Mother of our Head, who is Son of the Virgin and Spouse of virgins.

Isidore was sent as God's messenger to save the Spanish people from barbarism

Isidore was the last of the ancient Christian Philosophers, as he was the last of the great Latin Fathers. He was undoubtedly the most learned man of his age and exercised a far-reaching and immeasurable influence upon the educational life of the Middle Ages. His contemporary and friend, Braulio, Bishop of Saragossa, regarded him as a man raised up by God to save the Spanish people from the tidal wave of barbarism that threatened to inundate the ancient civilization of Spain.