Tag Archives: monasticism

St. Eleutherius the Abbot

I have a very vague recollection of today’s saint, Eleutherius, from some travels in Italy. A friend posted this sketch of a 6th century monk. Just to situate him: St Benedict died in 547. Some recent theological discussion in the Communio Study Circle about angels and demons leads me think more deeply about persons like Eleutherius.

St. Eleutherius (d. 585 A.D.) was a monk living in Spoleto, Italy. Little is known of his early life. He became the Abbot of St. Mark’s Abbey and was well-known as a man of simplicity and penance. He also demonstrated the gift of miracles and exorcism, and raised a dead man to life. After he healed a boy from demonic possession and saw that the child was afterwards left unharmed, St. Eleutherius made a remark to this effect: “Since the child is among the servants of God, the devil dares not approach him.”

Then the boy, who came to live at St. Mark’s Abbey to be educated by the monks, became possessed again. St. Eleutherius repented of his vain and presumptuous remark, and the whole monastery underwent a penitential fast before the devil would leave the boy for the final time. St. Eleutherius was a friend of Pope St. Gregory the Great, the latter having called upon the saint to pray for him in his illness. St. Eleutherius died in Rome in 585 A.D. Today is his feast day.   (DG)

St Aidan

St AidanI doubt many people know much about Saint Aidan except surface level stuff. The name “Aidan” is a beautiful name and it carries with it the beauty of the best of Catholicism in Ireland and parts of England and Wales. Saint Aidan was seeking someone great –he was truly seeking God. This seeking is the principle, the grammar by which we truly live the Faith.

“Monastic founder, bishop, and miracle worker known for his kindness to animals. Known as Edan, Modoc, and Maedoc in some records, Saint Aidan was born in Connaught, Ireland. His birth was heralded by signs and omens, and he showed evidence of piety as a small child. Educated at Leinster, Saint Aidan went to Saint David monastery in Wales. He remained there for several years, studying Scriptures, and his presence saved Saint David from disaster. Saxon war parties attacked the monastery during Saint Aidan’s stay, and he repelled them miraculously. In time, Saint Aidan returned to Ireland, founding a monastery in Ferns, in Wexford. He became the bishop of the region as well. His miracles brought many to the Church. Saint Aidan is represented in religious art with a stag. He made a beautiful stag invisible to save it from hounds.”

Saint Aidan, pray for Us!

Saint John Paul II

JPIIBlessed  Feast of Pope Saint John Paul II!

Saint John Paul II: “In its present form, inspired above all by Saint Benedict, Western monasticism is the heir of the great number of men and women who, leaving behind life in the world, sought God and dedicated themselves to him, “preferring nothing to the love of Christ”.The monks of today likewise strive to create a harmonious balance between the interior life and work in the evangelical commitment to conversion of life, obedience and stability, and in persevering dedication to meditation on God’s word (lectio divina), the celebration of the Liturgy and prayer.”
–Vita Consecrata, 6

Saint Anthony of Egypt

Anthony of the DesertToday, the Church recalls the memory of Saint Antony, Abbot (251-356) ~ “Father of Monasticism”! The saint was born in Egypt: he listened to and then followed the words of the Gospel and gave all his material things to the poor. Anthony left civilization as it was known then and went into the wilderness to begin a life of penitence, living in absolute poverty, praying, meditating, and supporting himself by manual work. He suffered many temptations, both physical and spiritual, but he overcame them. As you would expect, disciples found his manner of life and teaching attractive: his wisdom, love, moderation, and holiness. He gave support to the victims of the persecutions of Diocletian, and helping Saint Athanasius in his fight against the Arians. He lived to be over a hundred years old.

Saint Anthony of the Desert taught,

“One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life; but one should say that it is not easy. Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain. Those who are devout and whose intellect enjoys the love of God participate in the life of virtue; the ordinary intellect, however, is worldly and wavering, producing both good and evil thoughts, because it is changeful by nature and directed towards material things. But the intellect that enjoys the love of God punishes the evil which arises spontaneously because of man’s laziness.”

Saint Basil the Great

St Basil the Great detail.jpg

Since it is impossible to be saved unless we perform our works in accordance with the commandment of God, and since we disregard none of the commandments without peril — for it is a terrible arrogance to set ourselves up as the critics of our Lawgiver, now approving some of his laws, now dismissing others — let us who are combatants for piety and who esteem the life of tranquility and freedom from affairs as our collaborator in the keeping of the Gospel decrees, set before ourselves a common mind and purpose: that not so much of a single one of the commandments escape us. For if the man of God must be perfect — as it is written and as our earlier discourse on these matters has shown — it is entirely necessary that he be pruned. (cf. John 15:1) by every one of the commandments unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13); for according to the divine law a beast with a blemish even though clean, was unacceptable as a sacrifice to God (cf. Lev. 21. 19-20).

Saint Basil the Great

Saint Basil (329/30-379) was the bishop in what is modern Turkey in a city called Casesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia. Basil was attentive the needs of the poor and he is famous for for us rule for monasteries that focussed on the common life, the sacred liturgy and manual labor. Saint Benedict used Basil’s rule as one of a few for his own rule for monasteries. Basil is called the “revealer of heavenly mysteries.” Together with Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus is known as the Cappadocian Fathers. Saint Basil was a firm supporter of the Nicene Creed and fought heresy.

Let’s pray for hospital administrators today through the intercession of Saint Basil.

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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