The belief in God’s agency in contemporary events has long been noted as integral to Carolingian culture. Scholars have long noted that God’s wrath was a crucial part of the discourse about Viking invasions or the crisis of Louis the Pious’s reign. However, the wider assumption of divine intervention has been less clearly explored, especially the understanding of God’s mercy and grace. This paper will compare language of God’s intervention across history writing, letters, and legal texts, which narrate divine intervention (punitive or otherwise) in different arenas of life.
The dynamic between reform and renewal have been much studied in Church history, both in focusing on large movements and institutions, as well as, those ideas and articulation of personal reform. Throughout the so-called Carolingian Renaissance, both ideas of reform, institutional and personal, intersect. The spirituality underlying the Carolingian institutional reform would lay the foundation for personal and institutional renewal for generations to come. Smaragdus of St. Mihiel can provide an example of one such spirituality of a vibrant and deeply spiritual age. Smaragdus’s understanding on the salvific nature of the monastic life, the reformative power of grace, and the fruits of contemplation, provide insight into the spirituality of the Carolingian age.