Posted by: fvbcdm | July 11, 2012

Feast of Saint Benedict (11 July 2012)

It seems to me that each year on July 11, the Church celebrates two things.  One is the man whom we call Saint Benedict.  And the other is the document which we call the Rule of Saint Benedict which has been so enormously important and influential in the Christian community for some fifteen centuries.  

To help us remember a little of the history of the Church, it’s well to hang the lives of the greater figures on a certain year. For example, Saints Peter and Paul were killed by the Roman persecution under Nero about the year 64.   The emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which brought the persecutions to an end and began a new chapter in the history of the Church.  In the year 430, the great Saint Augustine died after becoming the greatest theologian since the apostles themselves.  And then, at the end of that same century, Saint Benedict whom we celebrate today wrote his Rule and fathered forth, not only the Rule, but also the Benedictine Order.  First of contemplative monks, then the cloistered Benedictine nuns in cooperation with his sister, Saint Scholastica, and later of all the many congregations of active sisters and brothers and lay associates called oblates.  There have been thousands of them down the years since about the year 500 to the present time. They have been popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns, active sisters, artists, missionaries, teachers, writers, musicians, doctors and nurses in the field of missionary health care in various parts of the world.  

There are two statements in the Rule of Saint Benedict that are particularly important and striking as we read that document: probably the most important document in the Church after the scriptures themselves. One of those statements is that “anyone is welcome to enter a Benedictine community if he or she is truly seeking God.”  And the other is that “absolutely nothing is to be preferred to Christ” in the Benedictine way of life.  These two statements are deceptively simple at first glance, but the more we ponder upon them, the more they can nourish our souls.  So on this feast of Saint Benedict and his Rule, we might ask ourselves first if we are truly seeking God, and then if we prefer absolutely nothing to Christ our Lord.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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