Tag Archives: Benedictine saints and blesseds

Saint Rabanus Maurus

St Rabanus Maurus.jpgSaint Rabanus (c. 780-4 Feb. 856), a Benedictine monk, theologian, exegete, poet, abbot and archbishop of Mainz, called the “teacher of Germany.” Rabanus studied under Alcuin who gave him the name of “Maurus.” He authored De rerurm naturis (On the Nature of Things), De laudibus sanctae Crucis but he’s most known for his composition of “Veni Creator Spiritus,” the beautiful hymn we sing at Pentecost and any time we pray to the Holy Spirit.

As Pope Benedict XVI reminded us when thinking about Saint Rabanus, he is “an extraordinary awareness of the need to involve not only the mind and heart in the experience of faith, but also the senses.” Rabanus was instructive in showing us how to use the “aesthetic taste and human sensitivity which bring man to benefit from the truth with all of himself: spirit, soul and body.”
For Benedict said, “I believe that Rabanus Maurus also speaks to us today. Whether immersed in the frenetic rhythms of work or on holiday, we must reserve time for God. We must not forget Sunday as the day of the Lord and the day of the liturgy, in order to see –in the beauty of our churches, of sacred music, and of the Word of God– the beauty of God Himself, and allow it to enter own being. Thus our lives become great, they become true life.
Ultimately from Saint Rabanus we learn that “We must search for God in all the dimensions of our being.”
The 2001 Roman Martyrology lists Rabanus as a saint while other sources list him as a blessed. Saint Rabanus is recognized as a holy bishop and scholar, and a confessor of the faith.
Pope Benedict XVI’s General Audience of 3 June 2009 was dedicated to Saint Rabanus.

Saint Meinrad, the Martyr of Christ-like Hospitality

St Meinrad.JPGO God, You made glorious in the martyrdom of the hermit Meinrad. Through his intercession, help me to grow in my love for you and in the devotion of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May I follow his example in the Christ-like hospitality and in single-hearted prayer.

There are very few abbeys in the USA that have enduring monastic presence, life, study, music and the like, that the monks of the Archabbey of Saint Meinrad have given to the Church. As I am an oblate of the Archabbey and friends with some of the monks there, I am short on objectivity with the good work and prayer life of the monks. Pray for the monks of Saint Meinrad.

Saint Gertrude the Great

St Gertrude the Great.jpg

A pivotal figure in our theology of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is Saint Gertrude the Great (1256-1302). She was a nun of the Abbey of Helfta. Saint Gertrude is the only woman on the liturgical calendar to hold the title “the Great.”

Gertrude was an extraordinary student, she learned everything that can be learned of the sciences of the trivium and quadrivium, the education of that time; she was fascinated by knowledge and threw herself into profane studies with zeal and tenacity, achieving scholastic successes beyond every expectation. If we know nothing of her origins, she herself tells us about her youthful passions: literature, music and song and the art of miniature painting captivated her. She had a strong, determined, ready and impulsive temperament. She often says that she was negligent; she recognizes her shortcomings and humbly asks forgiveness for them. She also humbly asks for advice and prayers for her conversion. Some features of her temperament and faults were to accompany her to the end of her life, so as to amaze certain people who wondered why the Lord had favoured her with such a special love.

Gertrude was an extraordinary student, she learned everything that can be learned of the sciences of the trivium and quadrivium, the education of that time; she was fascinated by knowledge and threw herself into profane studies with zeal and tenacity, achieving scholastic successes beyond every expectation. If we know nothing of her origins, she herself tells us about her youthful passions literature, music and song and the art of miniature painting captivated her. She had a strong, determined, ready and impulsive temperament. She often says that she was negligent; she recognizes her shortcomings and humbly asks forgiveness for them. She also humbly asks for advice and prayers for her conversion. Some features of her temperament and faults were to accompany her to the end of her life, so as to amaze certain people who wondered why the Lord had favoured her with such a special love.

She had a vision of a young man who, in order to guide her through the tangle of thorns that surrounded her soul, took her by the hand. In that hand Gertrude recognized “the precious traces of the wounds that abrogated all the acts of accusation of our enemies” (ibid., II, 1, p. 89), and thus recognized the One who saved us with his Blood on the Cross: Jesus.

From that moment her life of intimate communion with the Lord was intensified, especially in the most important liturgical seasons Advent-Christmas, Lent-Easter, the feasts of Our Lady even when illness prevented her from going to the choir. This was the same liturgical humus as that of Matilda, her teacher; but Gertrude describes it with simpler, more linear images, symbols and terms that are more realistic and her references to the Bible, to the Fathers and to the Benedictine world are more direct.

Read the whole of the Pope’s October 6, 2010 address on saint Gertrude the Great.

Prayer through the intercession of Saints Benedict & Maurus

The Benedictines celebrate the feast of Saint Maurus, a first disciple of Saint Benedict on January 15 and the Roman Martyrology notes his feast day as today. Liturgical calendars of religious aren’t always the same, sometimes for very good reasons. For Saint Maurus’ feast day in January I posted a prayer for the sick through his intercession which may interest you. Today, we’re honoring Saint Benedict and his student Maurus, by giving this prayer more “press” recalling the profound love they had for the Cross of Christ.

Sts Maurus & Placid with Benedict.jpg
Let us pray:
Through the intercession of the Immaculate Mother of God, ever a virgin, and by the intercession of St. Benedict and of St. Maurus, may the power of God + the Father, the wisdom of God + the Son, and the might of God + the Holy Spirit, deliver you from this infirmity. Amen.

May God’s will be done in all things, and so may it be done in your case, just as you seek and desire only the praise and honor of the all-holy Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lastly, the priest blesses the sick person with the relic of the holy cross, saying:
May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son + and Holy Spirit, come upon you and remain with you forever. Amen.
This formula provided by Abbot Maurus Wolter OSB, the then Abbot-President of the Beuronese Congregation, was approved by the Sacred Congregation for all priests and deacons, to impart the blessing, provided the formula approved by the Holy See is used.

The life of Saint Maurus is filled with terrific narratives of healings at the request of this saint at the Throne of Grace. One such miracle was a man’s diseased arm that needed healing Maurus prayed prostrate “at the foot of the altar, pouring forth his soul in fervent prayer. Having finished praying, he took from the altar the case of relics which had been sent him by his master, St. Benedict, and went to the bedside of the sick man. Having exposed the relic of the Cross, he made the sign of the Cross over every part of the arm from the shoulder to the fingers,” saying:

O God, the Creator of all things, You ordained that Your only Son should take flesh of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit for the restoration of your people, and You deigned to heal the wounds and infirmities of our souls by the redemption accomplished upon the sacred and glorious wood of the life-giving Cross: do You also vouchsafe through this powerful sign to restore health to Your servant.

Saint Gregory the Great

St Gregory the Great LBicci.jpg

When I think of Saint Gregory I think that without him we’d know little of the person of Saint Benedict, Saint Augustine of Canterbury (& others) and without Gregory we’d know little of what the worship of God was like and how faith was developed. Others will latch on to the fact that Gregory increased the ministry of the papal office but his lasting legacy for us is his efforts in showing us the reality of holiness, the desire in understanding the other person and how Christ sees him or her. This is fact true, the papacy under his guidance was expansive for the sake of the Gospel: the salvation of souls was most important to Gregory, as it ought to be for us.

His skill in preaching, teaching, governing and listening was stunning; his plan for missionary work stellar, his trust in Providence  beyond compare. Gregory worked hard to lead the Church to Christ in the unity of the Church especially with  Christians in the East, and those who needed to know Christ in Britain. He was true to himself: servus sevorum Dei.

We hold in prayer today Pope Benedict, abbots and abbesses, bishops and pastors of souls, musicians, the people of Britain, diplomats, and those engaged in the work of evangelization.
Servant of the Lord’s own servants,
Faith-filled shepherd of the sheep,
Gregory, as bishop, nurtured
All the Church, Christ’s ways to keep.
Writing, preaching, leading, loving,
Saint Peter’s steps he trod,
Raising singers up and training
Them to praise and worship God.
In his writings still he shows us
How to love and serve the Lord,
Counting not the cost and leaving
Al, so God might be adored.
To the Father, Son, and Spirit,
God the holy Three-in-One,
With Saint Gregory in glory
Let our work of praise be done!
J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2009, WLP
87 87 Stuttgart, Merton or
87 87 D Hyfrydol, Abbot’s Leigh

You received divine grace from heaven, O blessed Gregory, and strength from His divine power. You sought to follow the way of the Gospel, and your journey’s end brought you Christ’s reward. O blessed saint, beg Him to save us! (Troparion)

You became very much like shepherds of Christ. You led the flocks of monks into the heavenly sheepfold. There you taught your flock the law of Christ, O blessed father and now you sing in the heavenly abode, and you rejoice, happy in their company. (Kontakion)

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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