Thought for the Day – 11 January – The Memorial of St Theodosius the Cenobiarch (423-529 died aged 106)
Today is the Memorial of St Theodosius the Cenobiarch who was a Monk, an Abbot and a Founder. Roughly translated, cenobitical means “people who have a life in common,” and refers to the monks who joined Saint Theodosius’ community. These monks, of many nationalities, devoted themselves to the Lord but did not remain in seclusion . Rather, they socialised and interacted with the outside world, most particularly in the form of charitable and hospitable works, which was a new approach to monasticism at that time!
To his monastery were annexed three infirmaries: one for the sick, the gift of a pious lady in that neighbourhood; the two others St Theodosius built himself, one for the aged and feeble, the other for such as had been punished with the loss of their senses, or by falling under the power of the devil.
All succours, spiritual and temporal, were afforded in these infirmaries, with admirable order, care, and affection. He erected also several buildings for the reception of strangers, in which he exercised an unbounded hospitality, entertaining all that came, for whose use there were one day above a hundred tables served with provisions – these, when insufficient for the number of guests, were more than once miraculously multiplied by his prayers.
The monastery itself was like a city of saints in the midst of a desert and in it reigned regularity, silence, charity, and peace. The monks passed a considerable part of the day and night at their devotions in the church and at the times not set apart for public prayer and necessary rest, everyone was obliged to apply himself to some trade or manual labour.
It has always been recognised that love of neighbour is part of the love of God and the great saints have lived this, helping the sick, the poor and the needy without expecting any return. Monasteries were the first hospitals where the sick were cared for, free of charge and where the goodness of God was shown in countless ways. St Theodosius the Cenobiarch was a leader in his time and in ours – we can do no less than he did!
St Theodosius Pray for us!