Tag Archives: St Benedict

St Benedict’s Prologue to the Holy Rule: orienting 2013


The new year needs a proper orientation: may I propose that we need to listen, that is, to be silent (once in a while) and to attend to what the Lord, the Church, friends and family are saying. Here I think we would do well to hear what a master has to say about our work. A few years ago Pope Benedict spoke about an ancient form of the spiritual life, Benedictinism, that is often misunderstood, and yet it corresponds to the heart. Known as the Patriarch of Western monasticism, Benedict of Nursia, is the father of compassion, a man of blessing, a forthright teacher. The Pope said that,


St. Benedict’s spirituality was not an interiority removed from reality. In the anxiety and confusion of his day, he lived under God’s gaze and in this very way never lost sight of the duties of daily life and of man with his practical needs. Seeing God, he understood the reality of man and his  mission” (April 9, 2008).

A tender word from Saint Benedict’s Holy Rule is important for all of us to reflect upon as we begin 2013. The saint is clear that the Rule is not for the holy people or for people who are well-versed in the spiritual life. On the contrary what we see here  in the Prologue we read that our following (listening), our friendship with Christ is a work of which we ought to be diligent in doing if we are to reach our goal: heaven. Only in doing the hard work, some will say rightly so, doing battle, the distance between ourselves and God be lessened. Benedict is truly a father with an emphasis on mercy and honesty. His approach cultivates in all of us, I hope, a humane and reasonable way of living.
What distances the self from God? The truthful assessment of our life is our personal sin, the “slothful disobedience” we engage in. Overcoming sin, by Grace, is the work of each one of us, pope to peasant, PhD-holder to high school student. All we need to do is begin. Notice the emphasis I’ve placed for your concentration.


St. Benedict of Nursia writing the Benedictine...

Saint Benedict of Nursia writing his Rule ~a 1929 portrait at Heiligenkreuz Abbey, Austria by Herman Nieg.

L I S T E N carefully, my child, to your master’s
precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20). Receive willingly and
carry out effectively your loving father’s advice, that by the labor of
obedience
you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of
disobedience.


To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may
be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the
true King
, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.


And first
of all, whatever good work you begin to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer
to perfect it
, that He who has now deigned to count us among His children may
not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always so serve Him with
the good things He has given us, that He will never as an angry Father
disinherit His children
, nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who would not follow
Him to glory.
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Kansas monks set to elect new abbot


St Benedict Abbey KS.jpgLater today the monks of Saint Benedict’s Abbey
(Atchison, KS) enter into a special chapter (the group of solemnly processed)
to begin the process of electing a new Abbot.


Abbot Barnabas Senecal, 75, is leaving the abbatial office. The Constitutions of the American Casinesse Congregation of monks has the abbot submitting a resignation on his 75th birthday. Abbot Barnabas has served for the last 18 1/2 years.


Please keep the monks in your
thoughts and prayers as they gather to elect a new Father in Christ.

The abbey recently saw two monks profess temporary vows and three men enter the novitiate.


May the
Holy Spirit guide the hands of the monks. Saint Benedict, pray for the monks.

Communion and Liberation seeks Saint Benedict’s help

Benedict with golden staff.JPG

The Fraternity of Communion and Liberation has its patron Saint Benedict. Let’s implore Saint Benedict to look kindly on this charism of the Church and for the Supreme Pontiff on his name day. In our charity we ought to remember before the Throne of Grace Bishop Martino Matronola, abbot of Montecassino, who was CL’s first ecclesial superior.


You bestowed on Saint Benedict
rich gifts of the Holy Spirit,
making him the father
of a great multitude of the just,
and an outstanding teacher
of love for you and for our neighbor.
In his holy Rule, with a clear and wise discretion, he taught men and women to walk the path of salvation under the guidance of Christ and the Gospel and now he is revered as the patron of a multitude of nations.

-from the Eucharistic Preface for today’s Feast of Saint Benedict in the Ambrosian Church.

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

St Benedict pPerugino.jpg

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.

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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