Tag Archives: St Benedict

Saint Benedict

St Benedict healing.jpgThere was a man of venerable life, Benedict, blessed by grace and by name, who, leaving home and patrimony and desiring to please God alone, sought out the habit of holy living. (entr. ant.)

O God, who made the Abbot Saint Benedict an outstanding master in the school of divine service, grant we pray, that putting nothing before love of you, we may hasten with a loving heart in the way of your commands.
May Saint Benedict rich bless and continue to call to deeper conversion all believers, and in particular those monks, nuns, sisters and laity who follow the Holy Rule as a way life.
If you are interested in knowing more about Benedictine culture, theology and living, check out Liturgical Press’ recent catalog on Benedictine Resources.

Saint Benedict

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Stir up in your Church, O Lord, the spirit that animated our Father Saint Benedict, that filled with this spirit we may learn to love what he loved and practice what he taught.

Today is the commemoration of the passing of Saint Benedict (known also as the Transitus of Saint Benedict). The monks of Montecassino noted the serenity of his death making him a patron, an advocate for the dying. We attribute something similar to Saint Joseph, whom we celebrated on the 19th.  

Those who wear the “St Benedict Medal” will notice on the margin encircling the image of Benedict the Latin words: Eius in obitu nostro præsentia muniamur (May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death)!

I might note, the Medal of Saint Benedict is THE most indulgenced medal the church has and the proper blessing of the medal contains an exorcism. Because of the Saint’s love of the Cross and his fighting of Satan, the medal has been known to protect against evil.

Tradition holds, 

Six days before he died, Benedict gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy. Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end.

Then, supporting his weakened body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last.

Pope Saint Gregory the Great, Dialogues, book 2, c. 37.

The feast celebrate today is not so much a feast about the advocacy of a good death –an important aspect of our Christian life life– as much as it is to hold before our eyes an authentic witness to Jesus Christ and His Gospel. No other saint of the Church as affected the world as Saint Benedict has.

Most holy confessor of the Lord, Saint Benedict, Father of monks and nuns, guide and intercede for the salvation of us all.

Monks from St Bernard’s Abbey on EWTN’s Life on the Rock

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Happy to say that monks from St Bernard’s Abbey of Cullman, AL, were interviewed on EWTN’s Life on the Rock. The show aired on September 8, 2011.
The monks gave a great witness to the Benedictine monastic life…watch the show.

Fraternal love and correction essential, Pope reminds

Christ washing the feet Tintoretto.jpgOne of the themes from Oblate retreat this past weekend was humility. And from within the Gospel and Saint Benedict’s vision of humility Brother John Mark spoke about love and fraternal relations, particularly rubbing elbows in true charity with your brother and sister in community. A stone is only polished when it meets other stones.

Pope Benedict brings up the human desire to be in community with other other people: how good it is for brothers and sisters to live in unity, St Paul says. But this unity and love have one condition: “You will love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:8-10). Some take this point as an easy thing to do. I assure you, it is not. This past Sunday’s Scripture readings teach this point.
In his Rule, Saint Benedict places a strong emphasis on mutual responsibility (“a reciporcal responsibility” the Pope calls it) and charity toward the other person is lived only in a personal way. Benedict XVI argues as Saint Benedict did before him, “that there is a co-responsibility in the journey of the Christian life: everyone, conscious of his own limits and defects, is called to welcome fraternal correction and to help others with this particular service [of forgiveness and healing injuries].

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The good zeal is not just for monks but for all Christians…

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The daily grind makes us weary of the task at hand and sometimes we’re also weary of the “nonsense” of other people. There are times in which we are just ugly. Our own fragile and sinful lives can get in the way of things. Sadly, sometimes we get hurt, and we hurt others.

I was re-reading parts of Luigi Giussani’s Religious Sense this morning and then I saw that a friend made note of the Good zeal of monks (noted below) and I wondered… Why is it that we allow “wicked zeal of bitterness” to infiltrate our spirit and our relationships? Saint Benedict perceived a lack of coherence of what human beings say they believe and the lives lead. No doubt this same question/thought ought to concern every reasonable Christian if we are serious about faith in Jesus Christ and ultimate salvation. The tough thing about the Christian way of life is making sure that our faith informs our works and that we don’t replace faith with good works thinking that what we do will absolve our poor behavior. The good zeal Benedict exhorts his monks to have is really applicable to all baptized Christians and not merely the “professional Christians.”

Do we pay enough attention to reality? Am I too alienated from my own desires when I uncritically accept the ideas of others without doing the hard of work of verifying the truth of these ideas? Have I allowed wonder to take a back seat when looking at the reality I’ve been given by God? Have I sufficiently observed and understood what is in front of me? Have I love the Infinite, that is, the Triune God, to the best of my ability and without reservation? Where is my heart right now?

The Rule of Saint Benedict is insightful with regard to human nature: laziness, mediocrity, will not lead to ultimate happiness. That we have to put aside bitterness and that which does not build a deeper communion with God and neighbor. As Holy Father Saint Benedict and Father Luigi Giussani both said but in different ways: do we love?

Here is what the Rule of Saint Benedict says,

Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and everlasting life. This, then, is the good zeal which monks must foster with fervent love…. (72.1-3)

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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