Posted by: fvbcdm | June 19, 2017

Feast of Saint Romuald (19 June 2017)

One of the most enduring art media is the mosaic.  Basically, it’s a kind of small jigsaw puzzle of small pieces of colored glass which have been glued to a background to form an image.  There are very ancient mosaics still in existence produced before the time of Christ.  And, for those who are professionally or artistically interested in mosaics, there is no place like Ravenna in Northeast Italy.  After the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and the legitimization of the Church, the Emperors moved the court to Ravenna, where beautiful churches and public buildings came to be built.  Some of those interiors were covered with exquisite mosaics, which are still to be seen there.  One of the monasteries with a mosaic-covered church is Sant’Apollinare in Classe.

Classe is a suburb of Ravenna, and it was this monastery of which Saint Romuald became the abbot around the year 1000.  He was an interesting man.  His father had killed someone in a duel, and the devout, young Romuald wished to do penance for his father’s crime and to pray for his conversion.  So he embraced the life of a hermit and eventually became the founder of a religious order of hermit monks at a place near Ravenna called Camaldoli.  His prayers were very effective indeed because his father was converted and became a hermit monk himself.  The order of hermit monks which Romuald founded still exists in the Church after more than 1000 years.  There are not many of these silent monks, who live a very austere life of solitude, silence, and prayer, but their function within the Church is very important.

Just as our Divine Lord spent more than 90% of his life on earth in the quiet life of the Holy Family of Nazareth and during His public life often went to lonely places to pray in solitude and silence, so there is need within the Mystical Body of Christ for the dimension of silence and solitude, the contemplative life, the direct seeking of God away from the ordinary occupations of the human family.  On June 19 each year, the Church celebrates Saint Romuald.  There are two Camaldolese monasteries in our country which continue the unique vocation of Saint Romuald their founder.  It is the mind of the Church, that, as we celebrate these Saints of silence and solitude, we try to bring into our own hyperactive lives a measure of the same, sitting at the feet of Christ in silence and attentive solitude, to prepare ourselves for the contemplative life of Heaven.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.


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