Solemnity of Our Holy Father Saint Benedict (c.480-547)
Readings of the day: RB: Ch 33 Personal Possessions in the Monastery Mass: Pr 2:1-9; Ps 34; Ep 4:1-6 or Col 3:12-17; Lk 22:24-27 or Mt 19:27-29 or Mt 5:1-12aListen carefully to the master's instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.
(RB Prologue 1)
In the apostolic letter Pacis Nuntius (October 24, 1964), Pope Paul VI proclaimed St. Benedict as the principal patron of Europe giving him the illustrious and fitting titles of messenger of peace, creator of unity, teacher of civility, and above all the herald of the religion of Christ and the founder of western monasticism! It sounds even better in Italian: ‘Messaggero di pace, realizzatore di unione, maestro di civiltà, e soprattutto araldo della religione di Cristo e fondatore della vita monastica in Occidente’! It is no wonder St Benedict remains so popular. His message, contained in what he calls ‘a little rule for beginners’, speaks to the needs of the modern world so much in need of peace, unity, and civility. For your reflection, I include here eleven (It’s July 11th!) of my favorite verses from the Holy Rule of St Benedict. It was not easy to pick out only eleven. I leave it to you to decide the relevancy of Benedict’s message. My hope is that you may be prompted to pick up a copy of the Holy Rule and reflect on the wisdom contained therein. It is ‘little’ as it consists of a Prologue followed by 73 short chapters.
As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.(RB Prologue 49)You must honor everyone.(RB 4:8)Your way of acting should be different than the world’s way.(RB 4:20)If you notice something good in yourself, give credit to God, not to yourself.(RB 4:42)Guard your lips from harmful or deceptive speech.(RB 4:51)If you have a dispute with someone, make peace before the sun goes down.(RB 4:73)God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7).(RB 5:16)How important it is to lay our petitions before the Lord God of all things with the utmost humility and sincere devotion.(RB 20:2)The brothers or sisters must serve one another.(RB 35:1)Care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ.(RB 36:1)They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rm 12:10), supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior.(RB 72:4-5)O God, who made Abbot Saint Benedictan outstanding master in the school of divine service,grant, we pray,that, putting nothing before love of you,we may hasten with a loving heartin the way of your commands.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, for ever and ever.Amen.
(Collect, Mass)Europe rediscovers hope when the human person is at the heart of its institutions.St Benedict, pray for us!
(Pope Francis, Twitter, July 11, 2018)