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All Saints of the Benedictine Order

A blessed feast of All Saints of the Benedictine Order!

We have the opportunity today to celebrate In Festo Omnium Sanctorum Ordinis S.P.N. Benedicti…who fought the good fight under the Rule of St Benedict. Let’s reflect on the supreme importance of the monastic vocation, past and present.

Do we support our Benedictine monasteries? I am thinking of the monastic communities at Portsmouth , St Meinrad, Regina Laudis, Our Lady of the Rock, Marmion, St Walburga, the Petersham Benedictine Communities (St Mary’s Monastery & St Scholastica Priory).

Monastic life is indispensable to the life of the Church, East and West, much less civil society.

The beautiful hymn (Avete Solitudinis) from First Vespers prior to the 1963 reform of the Monastic Breviary:

Hail dwellers in the solitude
And in the lowly cloister cell,
Who steadfast and unshaken stood
Against the raging hordes of hell.

All wealth of gold and precious stone
And glories all of rank and birth
You cast away and trampled on,
With all low pleasures of this earth.

The green fields and the orchards grew
The simple fare whereon ye fed.
The brook was drink enough for you,
And on the hard ground was your bed.

Around you dwelt the venomed snakes,
And fiercest monsters harboured near.
All foul forms that the demon takes
You saw, but would not yield to fear.

Far, far beyond all earthly things
Your burning thoughts would wing their flight,
And hear the holy whisperings
Of angels in the heavenly height.

Thou Father of the heavenly host,
Thou glorious Son of Mary maid,
Thou Paraclete, the Holy Ghost,
To Thee be praise and glory paid.

Benedictine All Saints

All Benedictine SaintsWe of the Benedictine family traditionally celebrate the feast of All Saints of the Benedictine Order — In Festo Omnium Sanctorum Ordinis S.P.N. Benedicti.

The Cistercians –who likewise follow the Rule of St. Benedict, observe this day for All Saints of their Order.

The Introit of the feast reads:

“Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival in honour of all the saints who did battle under the Rule of Saint Benedict, at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice and all together praise the Son of God.”

Through intercession of all the Benedictine saints, let us pray for that our brothers and sisters throughout the world (the nuns, monks, and oblates) living under the Rule of Saint Benedict,
may persevere in daily seeking the face of God; thus giving the Holy Trinity praise day and night.

“Avete Solitudinis Claustrique Mites”

Hail dwellers in the solitude
And in the lowly cloister cell,
Who steadfast and unshaken stood
Against the raging hordes of hell.

All wealth of gold and precious stone
And glories all of rank and birth
You cast away and trampled on,
With all low pleasures of this earth.

The green fields and the orchards grew
The simple fare whereon ye fed.
The brook was drink enough for you,
And on the hard ground was your bed.

Around you dwelt the venomed snakes,
And fiercest monsters harboured near.
All foul forms that the demon takes
You saw, but would not yield to fear.

Far, far beyond all earthly things
Your burning thoughts would wing their flight,
And hear the holy whisperings
Of angels in the heavenly height.

Thou Father of the heavenly host,
Thou glorious Son of Mary maid,
Thou Paraclete, the Holy Ghost,
To Thee be praise and glory paid.

~text found in the Breviaries Monasticum until 1963, and in the Breviaries Cisterciense.

Benedictine All Saints

last judge monks.jpgToday is the liturgical observance of Benedictine All Saints. Let’s pray for all those monks, nuns, sisters and oblates who lived a life of holiness and perseverance in the monastic life.

Not to be a “Debby-downer” BUT, it is not likely that many Benedictine monasteries in the USA will observe today as a feast of all holy monks and nuns. Sadly, many of the monastic superiors have given-in to painting life in their in the monastery with the color beige: there’s no vitality of tradition.
Historically, according to a note in an Office book, “Up to the end of the sixteenth century, there was no general feast of this name for the whole Order, since the “Order of St. Benedict”, in the modern sense, was unknown. In individual monasteries, as Monte Cassino, Cluny, Fontenelle, etc., a feast of all the saints proper to the monastery was observed, on different dates; only by the revision of the monastic Breviary by Paul V, in 1612, a general feast of All Holy Monks of the Order was instituted, on the above date.”
Let us pray,
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the example of the holy Monks [and Nuns} may stir us to a better life: that so we may imitate the actions of those whose solemnity we celebrate.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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