Tag Archives: Benedictine Oblate

Conference on Benedictine Lay Movements and Communities in the UK

Sts Benedict, Maurus and PlacidEaling Abbey AND the Tyburn Monastery to host conference on Benedictine Lay Movements and Communities

The monastic spirituality forum – Community of Nazareth – will be hosting a conference on contemporary Benedictine lay movements and communities at Ealing Abbey on the 11th of June 2016. The conference will explore the values, mission and outreach of Benedictine movements. A number of groups will be participating in the event: Manquehue Movement, Lay Community of St Benedict, Community of St Aelred, Subiaco Walsingham, Monos and NazarethW5. 

The day will commence by joining the monastic community at their conventual mass at 9.15. The conference will begin at 10.15 with each group explaining its particular mission and how its transmits monastic values to others. There will be discussion about the nature of those groups and movements: residential communities, dispersed communities, e-communities and social media. There will also be talks examining Benedictine witness, in particular looking at the lives of Bl Gabriella of Unity and the Tibhirine martyrs. The day will conclude by joining the monastic community for vespers at 5.30.

Talks and papers will be available via the website (www.communityofnazareth.com) SoundCloud (Community of Nazareth) and twitter (@NazarethW5).

Benedictine Lay Movements and Communities to meet in the UK

Ealing Abbey to host conference on Benedictine Lay Movements and Communities

The monastic spirituality forum – Community of Nazareth – will be hosting a conference on contemporary Benedictine lay movements and communities at Ealing Abbey on the 11th of June 2016. The conference will explore the values, mission and outreach of Benedictine movements. A number of groups will be participating in the event: Manquehue Movement, Lay Community of St Benedict, Community of St Aelred, Subiaco Walsingham, Monos and NazarethW5. 

Talks and papers will be available via the website (www.communityofnazareth.com) SoundCloud (Community of Nazareth) and twitter (@NazarethW5).

Presentation of Mary in the Temple

Presentation of Mary in the TempleThe feast of the Presentation of Mary is a contemplation on we relate to the Temple following Mary as the Perfect Disciple (the paradigmatic believer), relate to us. This feast asks the question of how we, in our bodies, are meant to live in the Temple of the Lord. Our bodies are meant for the Lord. You ought to read Saint Paul’s First Letter to Corinthians in the 6th chapter: our bodies are members of Christ. So, what is it that we are called by the Lord? What is Mary’s place in the economy of Salvation and how do we relate to the same economy? What has happened to us in Christ?

We the Church we pray:

As we venerate the glorious memory of the most holy Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession, that we, too, may merit to receive from the fullness of your grace.

We need to appeal to the Byzantine Liturgy which proclaims,

“Today is the prelude to God’s munificence, and the announcement of salvation: in the Temple of God the Virgin is seen openly, foretelling to all the coming of Christ…The most pure temple of the Savior, his most precious bridal chamber, the Virgin, sacred treasury of God’s glory, enters today into the house of the Lord, bringing with her the grace of the divine Spirit. Wherefore the angels of God are singing: “Behold the heavenly tabernacle!…Wherefore let us cry out to her with all our strength: ‘Joy to you fulfillment of the Creator’s plan!'” At the moment when the young girl Mary was presented in the glorious Temple “everything that humans build was already diminished by the praise in her heart” (Rilke)

As a Benedictine Oblate, today is the day we renew our Oblation to our particular monasteries. As Through the intercession of Mary of the Temple may we Oblates recognize our true end in Christ. The hymn verse says it all: “Today, this day, is the day of the Lord. Rejoice, people, for lo, the bridal chamber of the Light, the book of the Word of Life, the Temple of the living God, has come forth from the womb, and the gate facing east, newly born, awaits the entrance of the great High Priest. She alone brings into the world the one and only Christ for the salvation of our souls.” God became flesh through Mary. So we should also be the Temple of the Lord today.

Here is an exposition of this feast by the Orthodox priest Father Thomas Hopko on Ancient Faith Ministries.

Saint Henry, king and Benedictine Oblate

St Henry Benedictine oblateToday we liturgically honor memory of the emperor, Saint Henry. He is the Patron of Benedictine Oblates. Those who are Benedictine oblates will also recall that Saint Frances of Rome (who feast is in March) is the other holy patron of Oblates. This King Saint Henry II is not the same person of the English or French Henry II of those monarchies. He is the only German monarch canonized saint. His wife was Saint Cunegonda. Saint Henry’s feast day, falls within the Octave of Saint Benedict reminding us of the bond that united him with our Benedict.

The Henry we honor today was crowned Emperor in Saint Peter’s Basilica by Pope Benedict VIII in AD 1014. Henry had the reputation of visiting Benedictine monasteries, often singing the Divine Office with the monastic community and spending time in prayer. His manner of life was centered around the Divine Office and living according to the Rule of St Benedict.

One of the miracles of Saint Benedict did for Henry was to cure him while at the famed monastery of Monte Cassino. Saint Henry was an oblate of the Abbey of Cluny and then asked to make profession as monk at the Abbey of Saint-Vanne. The abbot received him as a monk, and then ordered him, in the name of obedience, to return to the throne.

The Mass speaks of Saint Henry as person who meditated the revelation of Divine Wisdom and held the Word of God in his heart. Likewise, history tells us that he was not obsessed with the accumulation of wealth; he used his goods as alms for the poor; that he resisted temptation and relied on the truth and mercy of God when his subjects lied to him.

“Set your minds on things that are above,” says Saint Paul, “not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:3).

Saint Frances of Rome

Frances of RomeThe Church prays at Mass today: O God, who have given us in Saint Frances of Rome a singular model of both married and monastic life, grant us perseverance in your service, that in every circumstance of life we may see and follow you.

Here is a portion of Saint Frances’ biography from a life of the saint by Sister Mary Magdalene Anguillaria, superior of the Oblates of the Tor’ de Specchi:

God not only tested the patience of Frances with respect to her material wealth, but, as I have said before and will reiterate, he also tested her own body in a variety of ways, especially through long and serious illnesses which she had to undergo. And yet no one ever observed in her a tendency toward impatience. She never exhibited any displeasure when she complied with an order, no matter how foolish.

Through the premature deaths of her sons whom she loved dearly, Frances proved her constancy. With peace of soul she always reconciled herself to the will of God and gave him thanks for all that happened. With the same constancy she endured the slander of those who abused and reviled her and her way of life. She did not show the least hint of aversion toward them, even though she knew that they judged her rashly and spoke falsely of her way of life. Rather, returning good for evil, she habitually prayed to God for them.

God had not chosen her to be holy merely for her own advantage. Rather, the gifts he conferred upon her were to be for the spiritual and physical advantage of her neighbor. For this reason he made her so lovable that anyone with whom she spoke would immediately feel captivated by love for her and ready to help her in everything she wanted. Divine power was present and working in her words, so that in a few sentences she could bring consolation to the afflicted and the anxious, calm the restless, pacify the angry, reconcile enemies and extinguish long-standing hatreds and animosities. Again and again she would prevent a planned revenge from being carried out. She seemed able to subdue the passions of every type of person with a single word and lead them to do whatever she asked.

For this reason people flocked to Frances from all directions, as to a safe refuge. No one left her without being consoled, although she openly rebuked them for their sins and fearlessly reproved them for what was evil and displeasing to God.

Many different diseases were rampant in Rome. Fatal diseases and plagues were everywhere, but the saint ignored the risk of contagion and displayed the deepest kindness toward the poor and the needy. Here empathy would first bring them to atone for their sins. Then she would help them by her eager care, and urge them lovingly to accept their trials, however difficult, from the hand of God. She would encourage them to endure their sufferings for love of Christ, since he had previously endured so much for them.

Frances was not satisfied with caring for the sick she could bring into her home. She would seek them out in their cottages and in public hospitals, and would refresh their thirst, smooth their beds, and bind their sores. The more disgusting and sickening the stench, the greater was the love and care with which she treated them.

She used to go to the Campo Santo with food and rich delicacies to be distributed to the needy. On her return home she would bring pieces of worn-out clothes and unclean rags which she would wash lovingly and mend carefully, as if they were to be used for God himself. Then she would fold them carefully and perfume them.

For thirty years Frances continued this service to the sick and the stranger. While she was in her husband’s house, she made frequent visits to Saint Mary’s and Saint Cecilia’s hospitals in Trastevere, and to the hospital of the Holy Spirit in Sassia and to a fourth hospital in the Campo Santo. During epidemics like this it was not only difficult to find doctors to care for the body but even priests to provide remedies for the soul. She herself would seek them out and bring them to those who were disposed to receive the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist. In order to have a priest more readily available to assist her in her apostolate, she supported, at her own expense, a priest who would go to the hospitals and visit the sick whom she had designated.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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