Sunday, July 10, 2005

Benedict on St. Benedict

In today's angelus about tomorrow's feast, from >>> <<< Pope: “Terrorists, stop in the name of God!”:

"Tomorrow is the feast of St Benedict Abate, Patron of Europe, a saint particularly dear to me, as can be divined from my choice of his name,” he said. “Born in Norcia in around 480, Benedict completed his first studies in Rome. However, deluded by life in the city, he retreated to Subiaco, where he stayed for three years in a grotto – the famous ‘sacred specco’, dedicating himself completely to God. In Subiaco, availing themselves of the ruins of an enormous ‘ciclopica’ villa of the Emperor Nero, Benedict and his first disciples built some monasteries, giving birth to a community of brothers founded on the primacy of the love of Christ, where prayer and work alternated harmoniously in praise of God. Some years later, in Montecassino, he completed this project, putting it down in writing in “Regola”, his only work which reached us.

“Among the ashes of the Roman Empire, Benedict, seeking above all the Kingdom of God planted, perhaps without even realizing it, the seed of a new civilization which would develop, integrating Christian values with classical heritage on the one hand and the Germanic and Slavic cultures on the other. This is a typical aspect of his spirituality, which I want to highlight today. Benedict did not set up a monastic institution focused mainly on the evangelization of the Barbarian peoples, as other great missionary monks of his time did. Rather he indicated to his followers that the fundamental, even unique, scope of existence was the search for God: ‘Quaerere Deum’. However, he knew that the believer in a deep relationship with God cannot be content with living in a mediocre way according to the credo of a minimalist ethic and a superficial religiosity.

“In this light, we can better understand the expression which Benedict drew from St Cyprian and which sums up the way of life of the monks in his Regola: ‘Nihil amori Christi praeponere’, ‘Nothing is above the love of Christ’. Holiness consists of this, a valid proposal for each Christian, and it takes on true pastoral urgency in our age where there is a need to anchor life and history in steady spiritual points of reference.'"

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