- Monday, 11 July 2011 07:25
One of my favorite parts of the Saint Benedict’s hagiography (iconography) is the narrative of the “man of God” (Benedict) and the raven. It is related by Saint Gregory the Great (+603) that in the wilderness Benedict fed a raven with some a portion of his bread. When a jealous and wicked priest tried to kill Benedict with poisoned bread, Benedict coached the raven to take the deadly bread to place where it couldn’t harm another. The raven complied.
In his Dialogues Gregory writes, “Then the raven, opening its beak wide and spreading its wings, began to run around the bread, cawing, as if to indicate that it wanted to obey but was unable to carry out the order. Again and again the man of God told him to do it, saying, ‘Pick it up, pick it up. Do not be afraid. Just drop it where it cannot be found.’ After hesitating a long time, the raven took the bread in its beak, picked it up and flew away. Three hours later it came back, after having thrown the bread away, and received its usual ration from the hands of the man of God.”
- Monday, 28 March 2011 10:40
Today the Church –though localized to the Cistercian Order– celebrates the liturgical memorial of Saint Stephen Harding, one of the 3 founders of the Cistercian reform of Benedictine monastic life. Most of the faithful would not know of Saint Stephen unless they had contact with the Cistercians or remember their church history class.
Several things distinguish Saint Stephen Harding: he was English, he was the third abbot of Cîteaux, he was a man of great pragmatism, he was the author of the Charter of Charity (the foundational document of the Cistercian life), and was responsible for the liturgical formulations for this way of life, cleaning up the corruptions inserted into the Divine Office over the years.
On Saint Stephen’s deathbed he said, I assure you that I go to God in fear and trembling. If my baseness should be found to have ever done any good, even in this I fear, lest I should not have preserved that grace with the humility and care I ought.
For more on Saint Stephen Harding read this entry and this one.
- Monday, 21 March 2011 07:45
A reading from a sermon by St. Aelred
As today we
celebrate the passing of our holy Father Benedict, I am obliged to say
something about him, especially because I observe that you are eager to listen.
Like good sons you have come together to hear about your Father who, in Christ
Jesus, gave birth to you in the Gospel. Because we know that he has passed
beyond, let us see where he came from and where he has gone.
He came from where
we still are, of course, and he has gone on to that place to which we have not
yet come. And while we are not physically there where he has gone, we are there
in hope and love, as our Redeemer has told us: Where your treasure is, there
also is your heart. Thus the Apostle said: Our dwelling place is in heaven.
Indeed, Saint Benedict himself, while he lived physically in this world, dwelt
in thought and desire in the heavenly Fatherland.
Read more ...
- Thursday, 10 February 2011 21:12
With the Church in her Liturgy we pray to the Lord:
“…we may serve You with love and obtain perfect joy.”
- Friday, 04 February 2011 06:34
Saint 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.