Quote/s of the Day – 11 July – The Memorial of St Benedict of Nursia OSB (c 480-547)
“It is time now for us to rise from sleep!”
“Listen and attend with the ear of your heart.”
“He should know, that whoever undertakes, the government of souls, must prepare himself to account for them.”
“There exists an evil fervour, a bitter spirit, which divides us from God and leads us to hell. Similarly, there is a good fervour, which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life.”
“For at all times we must so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that He may not, as an angry Father, disinherit His children, nor as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil deeds, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who refuse to follow Him to glory.”
“He, who labours as he prays, lifts his heart to God, with his hands.”
One Minute Reflection – 11 July – “Month of the Precious Blood” – Saturday of the Fourteenth week in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 93:1-2, 5, Matthew 10:24-33 and the Memorial of St Benedict of Nursia OSB (c 480-547) Patron of Europe and Founder of Western Monasticism and St Olga Queen of Kiev (c 890-969)
“Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted.” … Matthew 10:29-30
REFLECTION – “If God shows such a solicitous care even for things of modest value (grass and flowers, for example), how can He forget you, that you are the most excellent of His creatures? Why then did He create such beautiful things? To manifest His wisdom and the greatness of His power, so that we might know all His glory.
Not only the heavens narrate the glory of God (Ps 18,2) but also the earth, as David points out, when he sang: Praise the Lord, fruit trees and all cedars (Ps 148,9). In fact, some creatures praise the Creator with their fruits, others with their greatness, still others with their beauty.
Another demonstration of the great wisdom and power of God resides in the fact that He adorns even the most vile objects of such beauty (what is, in fact, more vile than what exists today but tomorrow will no longer be?) If, then, God has also given hay to what was not necessary at all (what good is it, in fact, it’s beauty? To feed the fire?) how can He not give you what you need? If the Lord has generously decorated the most vile thing of all and not for some purpose but only for beauty, much more He will honour you, the most precious of His creatures, in those things that are necessary to you. ” … St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father and Doctor of the Church – Commentary on the Gospel of St Matthew, 22.1
PRAYER – Loving Father, grant me to have a true fervour in Your service. Let me never tire of following Your Son’s example and avoiding evil. Teach me to reside in total peace in Your wisdom and power and thus to trust You above all. Grant that by the intercession of St Benedict and St Olga, we may grow in holiness and attain our eternal home with You. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, God forever, amen.
St Abundius of Ananelos
St Amabilis of Rouen
St Anna An Jiaoshi
St Anna An Xingshi
Bl Antonio Muller
St Berthevin of Lisieux
St Cyprian of Brescia
St Cyriacus the Executioner
St Hidulf of Moyenmoutier
St John of Bergamo
Bl Kjeld of Viborg
St Leontius the Younger
St Marcian of Lycaonia
St Marciana of Caesarea
Maria An Guoshi
Maria An Linghua
Bl Marie-Clotilde Blanc
Bl Marie-Elisabeth Pélissier
Bl Marie-Marguerite de Barbégie d’Albrède St Olga Queen of Kiev (c 890-969)
St Pius I, Pope
St Placid of Dissentis
Bl Rosalie-Clotilde Bes
St Sabinus of Brescia
St Sabinus of Poitiers
St Sigisbert of Dissentis
Bl Thomas Hunt
Bl Thomas Sprott
St Thurketyl Blessed Valeriu Traian Frentiu (1875-1952) Martyr Biography: https://anastpaul.com/2019/07/11/saint-of-the-day-blessed-valeriu-traian-frentiu-1875-1952-bishop-and-martyr/
Saint of the Day – 11 July – St Benedict of Nursia OSB (c 480-547) Patron of Europe and Founder of Western Monasticism. Some of his many Patronages – Against Poison, Against Witchcraft, Agriculture, Cavers, Civil Engineers, Coppersmiths, Dying People, Farmers, Fevers, Inflammatory Diseases, Kidney Disease, Monks, Religious Orders, Schoolchildren, Temptations.
St Benedict founded twelve communities for monks about 40 miles east of Rome, before moving to Monte Cassino, in the mountains of southern Italy. St Benedict’s main achievement is his “Rule”, containing precepts for his monks. The unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness influences it and this persuaded most religious communities founded throughout Middle Ages, to adopt it. As a result, the Rule of St Benedict became one of the most influential religious rules in western Christendom. For this reason, Benedict is often called the “founder” of western Christian Monasticism.
St Benedict is the twin brother of St Scholastica and is considered patron of many things. He was born in Nursia, Italy and educated in Rome.
He was repelled by the vices of the city and around 500, fled to Enfide – thirty miles away. He decided to live the life of a hermit and lived in a cave for three years. Despite Benedict’s desire for solitude, his holiness became known and he was asked to be the Abbot by a community of monks at Vicovaro. He accepted but when the monks resisted his strict rule and tried to poison him, he returned to Subiaco and became a centre of spirituality and learning.
He eventually moved back to Monte Cassino and destroyed a temple to Apollo on its crest and brought the people of the neighbouring area back to Christianity. In 530 he began to build the monastery that was to be the birthplace of western monasticism.
Soon, disciples again flocked to him as his reputation for holiness, wisdom and miracles spread far and wide. It wasn’t long and he organised his monks into a single monastic community and wrote his official Rule, prescribing common sense, a life of moderate asceticism, prayer, study, work and community under one superior. It stressed obedience, stability, zeal and had the Divine Office as the centre of monastic life. While ruling his monks, most of whom – including Benedict, were not ordained, he counselled rulers and Popes and ministered to the poor and destitute. He died at Monte Cassino on 21 March 547 and was named patron protector of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964. The Universal Church celebrates his feast day today.
The St Benedict medal is very popular among Christians to this day and are hung above doors and windows, for protection against evil. It is believed that evil cannot enter your house if you protect every opening with a St Benedict medal and Crucifix. The medal has an image of St Benedict, holding the Holy Rule in his left hand and a cross in his right. There is a raven on one side of him, with a cup on the other side. Around the medal’s outer margin are the words “Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur” – “May we, at our death, be fortified by His presence”. The other side of the medal has a cross with the initials CSSML on the vertical bar which signify “Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux”“May the Holy Cross be my light” and on the horizontal bar are the initials NDSMD which stand for “Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux”“Let not the dragon be my overlord”. The initials CSPB stand for “Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti”“The Cross of the Holy Father Benedict” and are located on the interior angles of the cross. Either the inscription “PAX” Peace or the Christogram “HIS” may be found at the top of the cross in most cases. Around the medal’s margin on this side are the initials VRSNSMV which stand for “Vade Retro Satana, Nonquam Suade Mihi Vana” ”Begone Satan, do not suggest to me thy vanities” then a space followed by the initials SMQLIVB which signify “Sunt Mala Quae Libas, Ipse Venena Bibas”“Evil are the things thou profferest, drink thou thy own poison”.
The Medal of St Benedict can serve as a constant reminder of the need for us to take up our cross daily and “follow the true King, Christ our Lord,” and thus learn “to share in his heavenly kingdom,” as St. Benedict urges us in the Prologue of his Rule.
More on St Benedict, his Rule and the Medal here: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/saint-of-the-day-11-july-st-benedict-of-nursia-o-s-b-abbot-patron-of-europe-patronus-europae/
Seeking God is not the activity only of monks and nuns in monasteries. Rather, it is the task given to all of the baptised. And while most of us will not enter monastic life, there is an “inner monk” within us that compels us to seek God in our individual vocations and lives, whether as a diocesan priest, as principal of a high school, as members of families, married or single. Seeking God takes place in the here and now, in this situation, with these people, in this family, this workplace, this school and in this time. It is not only for those holy monks; it is for me! In his Rule, St. Benedict gives the world the roadmap to seeking God. Prayer, work, obedience, simplicity of life and stability help monks seek God; adapted, they can help the rest of us, too.
The monastic day is bookmarked by prayer early in the morning and in the evening, along with several moments of communal prayer throughout the day. For anyone seeking God, prayer has to become the primary activity of the day. It cannot be put aside for “more pressing” matters. Prayer is the first priority of one’s day and all other activities of work, home and family work around it. Monks pray the Liturgy of the Hours seven times a day, which lay people can also pray if they so desire. However one prays, time with the Lord is a necessary component in seeking Him. The Eucharist is the heart of prayer and anyone seriously seeking God ought to consider it a daily practice, if possible. It is in those moments of spending time with the Lord that the person will detect His presence in his heart and soul.
Prayer, work, obedience, stability and simplicity of life marks the life of monks. In developing the “inner monk” within you, take what you can from the monastic lifestyle to find God in your life…………Msgr. Bernard Bourgeois
Saint of the Day – 11 July – St Benedict of Nursia O.S.B. – Abbot Patron of Europe (Patronus Europae) – Also known as: Benedict of Narsia, Benedict of Norsia, Benedetto da Norcia, Founder of Western Monasticism – (c 480, Narsia, Umbria, Italy – 21 March 547 of a fever while in prayer at Monte Cassino, Italy). He buried beneath the high altar there in the same tomb as Saint Scholastica. He was Canonised in 1220 by Pope Honorius III. Patronages: Co-Patron of Europe, Against poison, Against witchcraft, Agricultural workers, Cavers, Civil engineers, Coppersmiths, Dying people, Erysipelas, Europe, Farmers, Fever, Gall stones, Heerdt (Germany), Heraldry and Officers of arms, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Inflammatory diseases, Italian architects, Kidney disease, Monks, Nettle rash, Norcia, (Italy), People in religious orders, Schoolchildren and students, Servants who have broken their master’s belongings, Temptations.
Benedict was born into a distinguished family in central Italy, studied at Rome and early in life was drawn to monasticism. At first he became a hermit, leaving a depressing world—pagan armies on the march, the Church torn by schism, people suffering from war, morality at a low ebb.
He soon realised that he could not live a hidden life in a small town any better than in a large city, so he withdrew to a cave high in the mountains for three years. Some monks chose Benedict as their leader for a while, but found his strictness not to their taste. Still the shift from hermit to community life had begun for him. He had an idea of gathering various families of monks into one “Grand Monastery” to give them the benefit of unity, fraternity and permanent worship in one house. Finally he began to build what was to become one of the most famous monasteries in the world—Monte Cassino, commanding three narrow valleys running toward the mountains north of Naples.
The Rule that gradually developed prescribed a life of liturgical prayer, study, manual labor, and living together in community under a common abbot. Benedictine asceticism is known for its moderation, and Benedictine charity has always shown concern for the people in the surrounding countryside. In the course of the Middle Ages, all monasticism in the West was gradually brought under the Rule of St. Benedict.
Today the Benedictine family is represented by two branches: the Benedictine Federation encompassing the men and women of the Order of St. Benedict and the Cistercians, men and women of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance.
St Benedict died at Monte Cassino not long after his sister, Saint Scholastica. Benedict died of a high fever on the day God had told him he was to die and was buried in the same place as his sister. According to tradition, this occurred on 21 March 543 or 547. He was named patron protector of Europe by Pope Paul VI in 1964. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared him co-patron of Europe, together with Saints Cyril and Methodius.
Rule of Saint Benedict
Seventy-three short chapters comprise the Rule. Its wisdom is of two kinds: spiritual (how to live a Christocentric life on earth) and administrative (how to run a monastery efficiently). More than half the chapters describe how to be obedient and humble and what to do when a member of the community is not. About one-fourth regulate the work of God (the Opus Dei). One-tenth outline how and by whom, the monastery should be managed.
Following the golden rule of Ora et Labora – pray and work, the monks each day devoted eight hours to prayer, eight hours to sleep and eight hours to manual work, sacred reading, or works of charity
Saint Benedict Medal, front.
On the front of the medal is Saint Benedict holding a cross in his right hand, the object of his devotion and in the left his rule for monasteries. In the back is a poisoned cup, in reference to the legend of Benedict, which explains that hostile monks attempted to poison him: the cup containing poisoned wine shattered when the saint made the sign of the cross over it (and a raven carried away a poisoned loaf of bread). Above the cup are the words Crux sancti patris Benedicti (“The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict”). Surrounding the figure of Saint Benedict are the words Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur! (“May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death”), since he was always regarded by the Benedictines as the patron of a happy death.
On the back is a cross, containing the letters C S S M L – N D S M D, initials of the words Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Non [Nunquam?] draco sit mihi dux! (“May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my overlord!”). The large C S P B stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (“The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict”). Surrounding the back of the medal are the letters V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B, in reference to Vade retro satana: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (“Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!”) and finally, located at the top is the word PAX which means “peace”
Use of the Medal
There is no special way prescribed for carrying or wearing the Medal of St. Benedict. It can be worn on a chain around the neck, attached to one’s rosary, kept in one’s pocket or purse, or placed in one’s car or home. The medal is often put into the foundations of houses and building, on the walls of barns and sheds, or in one’s place of business.
The purpose of using the medal in any of the above ways is to call down God’s blessing and protection upon us, wherever we are and upon our homes and possessions, especially through the intercession of St. Benedict. By the conscious and devout use of the medal, it becomes, as it were, a constant silent prayer and reminder to us of our dignity as followers of Christ.
The medal is a prayer of exorcism against Satan, a prayer for strength in time of temptation, a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world, a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide, a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil, a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide,” as St. Benedict urges us.
A profitable spiritual experience can be ours if we but take the time to study the array of inscriptions and representations found on the two sides of the medal. The lessons found there can be pondered over and over to bring true peace of mind and heart into our lives as we struggle to overcome the weaknesses of our human nature and realize that our human condition is not perfect, but that with the help of God and the intercession of the saints our condition can become better.
The Medal of St. Benedict can serve as a constant reminder of the need for us to take up our cross daily and “follow the true King, Christ our Lord,” and thus learn “to share in his heavenly kingdom,” as St. Benedict urges us in the Prologue of his Rule.
Saint of the Day -10 February – St Scholastica Virgin and Religious – (c482-547) Patron of school; tests; books; reading; convulsive children; nuns; invoked against storms, lightening and rain; City of Le Mans.
Scholastica was born in 480 in Nursia, Umbria, of wealthy parents and according to Gregory the Great’s Dialogues, was dedicated to God from a young age. She and her twin brother Benedict were brought up together until the time he left to pursue studies in Rome.
A young Roman woman of Scholastica’s class and time would likely have remained in her father’s house until marriage (likely arranged) or entry into religious life. But wealthy women could inherit property, divorce and were generally literate. On occasion several young women would live together in a household and form a religious community.
Benedictine tradition holds that Scholastica lived in a convent at Plumbariola about five miles from Monte Cassino and that this was the first “Benedictine” convent. However, it has been suggested that it is more likely that she lived in a hermitage with one or two other religious women in a cluster of houses at the base of Mount Cassino where there is an ancient church named after her. Ruth Clifford Engs notes that since Dialogues indicates that Scholastica was dedicated to God at an early age, perhaps she lived in her father’s house with other religious women until his death and then moved nearer to Benedict.
The most commonly told story about her is that she would, once a year, go and visit her brother at a place near his abbey and they would spend the day worshiping together and discussing sacred texts and issues.
One day they had supper and continued their conversation. When Benedict indicated it was time for him to leave, perhaps sensing the time of her death was drawing near, Scholastica asked him to stay with her for the evening so they could continue their discussions. Not wishing to break his own Rule, Benedict refused, insisting that he needed to return to his cell. At that point, Scholastica closed her hands in prayer and after a moment, a wild storm started outside of the guest house in which they were housed. Benedict asked, “God forgive you, Sister.What have you done?”, to which she replied, “I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and He did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery.” Benedict was unable to return to his monastery, and they spent the night in discussion.
According to Gregory’s Dialogues, three days later, from his cell, he saw his sister’s soul leaving the earth and ascending to heaven in the form of a shining white dove. Benedict had her body brought to his monastery, where he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared for himself.