Benedict this morning
Since it is July 11th, and I am his spiritual daughter, I must present to you once more my dear St. Benedict of Nursia, and this excerpt from his Holy Rule, which contains wisdom that may be applied to the management of home, family, business. Hey, the Benedictines has rolled with it for these 1500 years; the track record is proven:
Whenever you begin any good work you should first of all make a most pressing appeal to Christ our Lord to bring it to perfection; that he, who has honored us by counting us among his children, may neer be grieved by our evil deeds. . . .
So we should at long last rouse ourselves, prompted by the words of Scripture: Now is the time for us to rise from sleep. Our eyes should be open to the God-given light, and we should listen in wonderment to the message of the divine voice as it daily cries out: Today, if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts; and again: If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. And what does the Spirit say? Come my sons, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Hurry, while you have the light of life, so that death’s darkness may not overtake you.
And the Lord as he seeks the one who will do his work among the throng of people to whom he makes that appeal, says again: Which of you wants to live to the full; who loves long life and the enjoyment of prosperity? And, if when you hear this you say, I do, God says to you: If you desire true and everlasting life, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceit; turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. And when you have done these things my eyes will be upon you and my ears will be attentive to your prayers; and before you call upon my name I shall say to you: Behold, I am here. What could be more delightful, dearest brothers, than the voice of our Lord’s invitation to us? In his loving kindness he reveals to us the way of life.
Two days ago, Pope Benedict XVI said of him, “the great monk is still a true teacher.” I am highlighting comments peculiar to the past and present circumstances of Europe, but if you read this whole piece, you’ll see how the pope has clearly been studying the Rule for many, many years.
“. . . the Saint’s work and particularly his Rule were to prove heralds of an authentic spiritual leaven which, in the course of the centuries, far beyond the boundaries of his country and time, changed the face of Europe following the fall of the political unity created by the Roman Empire, inspiring a new spiritual and cultural unity, that of the Christian faith shared by the peoples of the Continent. This is how the reality we call “Europe” came into being.[…]
By proclaiming St Benedict Patron of Europe on 24 October 1964, Paul VI intended to recognize the marvelous work the Saint achieved with his Rule for the formation of the civilization and culture of Europe. Having recently emerged from a century that was deeply wounded by two World Wars and the collapse of the great ideologies, now revealed as tragic utopias, Europe today is in search of its own identity. Of course, in order to create new and lasting unity, political, economic and juridical instruments are important, but it is also necessary to awaken an ethical and spiritual renewal which draws on the Christian roots of the Continent, otherwise a new Europe cannot be built. Without this vital sap, man is exposed to the danger of succumbing to the ancient temptation of seeking to redeem himself by himself – a utopia which in different ways, in 20th-century Europe, as Pope John Paul II pointed out, has caused “a regression without precedent in the tormented history of humanity” (Address to the Pontifical Council for Culture, 12 January 1990). Today, in seeking true progress, let us also listen to the Rule of St Benedict as a guiding light on our journey. The great monk is still a true master at whose school we can learn to become proficient in true humanism.
As a Benedictine,, I of course talk to Benedict a great deal, and routinely ask his prayers for my husband and for all working people who must deal daily with others as they go along to get along, in unity of purpose, if not of mind or character. Benedict’s genius in pulling working with monks of varied gifts and character (and his wisdom in recognizing deceit when it surrounded him) relates very well to the modern office. Today, I ask the prayers of St. Benedict of Nursia for the good of all of my Benedictine brothers and sisters, throughout the world, for Benedict XVI, who chose him as a patron of his Pontificate, for Europe and the United States and for all heads of government. And for parents, too.
A busy day, for Benedict, then. Good thing he is in Eternity!