O God who bestowed upon Saint Sylvester zeal for the sweetness of solitude and for the labors of the cenobitical life, grant us, we beseech You, to seek You always with a sincere mind and in humble charity hasten toward the eternal tabernacles. (antiphon)
On the Benedictine liturgical calendar the 13th century founder and abbot St Sylvester Guzzolini (1177-1267), is recalled.
A few marks of this saintly abbot’s spirituality would be his emphasis on the mysteries of the Passion of Our Lord, a filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and the intense love of the Most Holy Eucharist. You can see the two of these marks expressed in parting by Claudio Ridolfi in 1632.
Historically, some will remember that St Silvester founder of the so-called Blue Benedictines (from the color of their habit) or what became known as Silvestrines. The Benedictine way of life proposed by St Sylvester was confirmed by Pope Innocent IV in 1247. As a founder of a new expression of Benedictine monasticism Sylvester wanted his community to focus on contemplation thus being places of away from the cities, and he wanted relatively small communities of men who lived very modestly (even quiet poor) in contradistinction to the large monasteries of his time that had power and wealth and little regard for the Holy Rule. Today, this congregation of Benedictines is relatively small and not too well-known.
St Sylvester teaches us through his example and living the three marks I noted above: attend to the Cross, be in relation to the Mother of God, and prepare your heart to receive the Lord in the Eucharist.