Monday, July 21, 2014

the Rosary




what Mother Mary says, is still very true! Pray the Rosary! 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

A repost: I look at Him and He looks at me!

Happy Pentecost!!! & soon to be Corpus Christi!!! :D 

I look at Him and He looks at me!


Excerpts from [The Holy Eucharist by St. Alphonsus de Maria Ligouri], [Alone with God by Fr Heyrman S.J.], [20 Holy Hours by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey SS.CC.] and [The Imitation of Christ by Blessed Thomas a Kempis]


Every religious house has a "domestic chapel", where the Blessed Sacrament is "reserved". This is an honour and a privilege, on which we should reflect these days: do we truly value Christ's presence so close to us, and do we remember it, and use it to make progress in the spiritual life? The Cure of Ars had noticed an elderly man who often knelt at the back of the church, and kept his eyes fixed on the tabernacle. The Saint once asked him what he was doing, and the old man answered, "Je l'avise et Il m'avise, I look at Him and He looks at me." Simple words, flowing from a humble heart: but Christ loves to converse with the humble ...


The Eucharist as a Sacrificial Banquet, A Mystery of Love and Intimacy:


Love longs for the presence of the beloved, and for union with him. Divine love satisfies this longing in a divine manner.

And therefore Jesus deigned "to close His earthly pilgrimage with this most wonderful dispensation" (Sui moras incolatus, Miro clausit ordine) through the institution of the Blessed Sacrament He would remain in our midst till the end of time. Indeed it is a sacramental presence veiled and hidden: but both in Holy Communion and in the tabernacle, He is really and truly with us. We can go and prostrate ourselves before Him, we can greet Him; His quiet presence supports and feeds our prayer.
But what Jesus intended through the institution of the Holy Eucharist touches our inmost being even more closely. The Council of Trent says, "Not only did the Lord intend to give to His Bride, the Church, a visible sacrifice, as is demanded by our human nature; He also gave her His sacred Body to be the spiritual food of our souls, that we might become partakers of His very life." "He that eateth me, the same also shall live by me." "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood abideth in me and I in him" (John 6: 57,58). Is it possible to devise a more intimate way of being united? It is like mutual compenetration, brought about by the partaking of materiel food: but here materiel signs point to the most sublime spiritual reality: the wisdom of God, and His infinite power in the service of His boundless love.
When Jesus trod the roads of Galilee, power went out from His mortal Body, which healed all those that merely touched the hem of His garment: and we, whenever we eat His flesh we are privileged to have the most intimate contact with His glorified Body. O Lord, heal all our ailments!
In His discourse at Capharnaum Jesus laid stress on the intimate union of the soul with Him through the eating of His Flesh and the drinking of His Blood. From this St. Paul concludes to the oneness of all those that believe in Christ, "The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? For we, being many, are one bread, one body all that partake of one bread" (1 Cor. 10:16,17).
Sitting at the same table, and partaking of the same food, betokens and fosters harmony and friendship. The Fathers of the Church, especially St. Augustine, regard the Eucharist as the Sacrament of unity, symbolising the unity of the Church, and moulding it into the one mystical Body of Christ. "O Mystery of piety, O sign of unity, O bond of love!"
This makes us grasp how appropriately the Bride of Christ, our Holy Mother the Church, prepares her children for Holy Communion by exhorting them to fraternal charity, and by the kiss of peace. "That they may be one, as we also are one; I in them, and thou in me; that they may be perfect in one" (John 17: 22,23).
“You envy,” said St. John Chrysostom, “the opportunity of the woman who touched the vestments of Jesus, of the sinful woman who washed His feet with her tears, of the women of Galilee who had the happiness of following Him in His pilgrimages, of the Apostles and disciples who conversed with Him familiarly, of the people of the time who listened to the words of grace and salvation which came forth from His lips. You call happy those who saw Him … But, come to the altar and you will see Him, you will touch Him, you will give to Him holy kisses, you will wash Him with your tears, you will carry Him within you like Mary Most Holy.”

Thus Jesus is truly with us. “Jesus is there!” The holy Cure of Ars could not finish repeating these three words without shedding tears. And St. Peter Julian Eymard exclaimed with joyful fervour, “There Jesus is! Therefore all of us should go visit Him!”
Mary and the Holy Eucharist
"True Body, Born of Mary Ever Virgin"
Jesus said: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:51). In the virginal womb of Mary the "Bread of Angels" (Panis Angelorum) assumed the form in which it would become "the food of mortal man". Even before she had become the Mother of God, the angel had greeted her "full of grace". This fullness received a further increase when. as the first living tabernacle of God among men, she carried within herself the very fountain of all graces. "He that is mighty hath done great things to her:" for she is the true Mother of the true Body, that is born of her. On the feast of Corpus Christi the Church most appropriately concludes all her hymns with the same words as on the feasts of Our Lady:
O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, Immortal glory be to Thee, Praises to the Father infinite, And Holy Ghost eternally.
Mary Offers Christ on Calvary
Mary's womb was the first altar on which the Son of God, made man, offered Himself to the Father. "Wherefore, when He (Christ, the High Priest) cometh into the world, he saith Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not: but a body thou hast fitted to me. Holocausts for sin did not please thee; then said I, Behold, I come. In the head of the book it is written of me that I should do thy will, O God" (Heb. 10: 5-7).
When the appointed hour had come, the sacrifice of Calvary was consummated: Mary stood by the cross, and at that supreme moment she joined her Fiat to the "consummatum est", of her Son. It is true that nothing was lacking to the sacrifice of Jesus, but the Lord willed that His Holy Mother, who was to be the Mother of all the living, should participate in His oblation in a unique and universal, even though subordinate, manner.
No one could participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice as did Mary: therefore we say in the Canon of the Mass, "In communion with, and honouring the memory of, especially the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ..." Mary's role in the work of our redemption is a subordinate one nevertheless by God's will a necessary, and therefore a universal one. When giving us His Son, God gave us all things: in a certain sense we may say that, by giving us her Son, Mary gave us all things.
The moment Mary had given her assent to the angel's message, the Word of God was made flesh; with her assent the Lamb was nailed to the cross; in a unique and most sublime manner, she has offered her Son to the Father for the redemption of mankind.
Of a pure and spotless Virgin
Born for us on earth below,
He, as man with man conversing,
Stayed, the seeds of truth to sow;
Then He closed in solemn order
Wondrously His life of woe. Sui moras incolatus, Miro clausit ordine
Pange Lingua by St. Thomas Aquinas
Mary in the Infant Church
Our Lady was "not present" when Jesus instituted the Blessed Sacrament, and ordained the Apostles to be His priests and "dispensers of the Divine Mysteries". Holy Writ explicitly mentions her presence when the Paraclete came down on the Apostles: indeed she, the new Eve and Mother of all the living, could not be absent at the moment when the Church was born, which is her Son's Mystical Body. When the brethren at Jerusalem gathered to celebrate the Eucharist, "breaking bread in commemoration of Him," the Mother of the Lord was surely with them. Though she was full of grace, and had been favoured by God in such a wonderful manner, still she remained the humble "handmaid of the Lord", and took her place among the faithful. For her, as for all the other believers, the Apostles "broke the Bread". To her also Holy Communion became the food of her soul to comfort and strengthen her till the end of her pilgrimage, and also the intimate experience of the "Communion of Saints".
Hail, true Body, born of Mary, ever Virgin,
Truly suffering, immolated on the cross for man.
Blood and water forth there flowed
From the wounded side.
In the moment of our death
Be Thou a foretaste of heaven.
O sweet Jesus! O good Jesus!
O Jesus, Son of Mary!
Ave Verum
The Eucharist as Centre of Our Life
Whenever we visit the Blessed Sacrament, we go and draw at the fountain of all graces, we cooperate with grace, and we make it bear fruit. "For every devout soul may approach without fear, every day and hour, to a spiritual communion with Christ ... As often as he devoutly dwells on the mystery of Christ's Incarnation and Passion, he communicates mystically, and is invisibly strengthened and inflamed to love" (4 Imitation of Christ, 10:6).
Prayer: Grant, O Lord, that we, who have been fed with the Bread of Angels, may imitate the purity of angels in our conduct, and like him, whom we honour today never cease to give thanks to Thee. Through our Lord (Postcommunion of Mass of St. Aloysius).
The Eucharist Cleanses Our Soul (A Preservation Against Sin)
Every increase of grace implies further safeguard against sin. When the body receives appropriate food, it is immune against illness and protected against contagion. Often the Church prays, "Mundet et muniat nos, quaesumus, Domine, divini Sacramenti munus oblatum: May the offering of this Divine Sacrifice purify and protect us, we pray Thee, O Lord."
Anima Christi
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from Thee.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
And bid me come to Thee.
That with Thy saints I may praise Thee,
Forever and ever. Amen.
O Salutaris hostia, Quae caeli pandis ostium,Bella premunt hostilia,Na robur, fer auxilium.Uni trinoque Domino,Sit sempiterna gloria:Qui vitam sine termino,Nobis donet in patria.Amen.
O Saving Victim! opening wideThe gate of Heaven to man below!Our foes press on from every side;Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.To thy great Name be endless praise,Immortal Godhead! One in three!O grant us endless length of daysIn our true native land with Thee!Amen.
The above hymn is sung during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament when the priest opens the tabernacle and incenses the Blessed Sacrament.
Conclusion
We adore Thee, Eucharistic God and we Bless Thee, Redeemer of the world. We love Thee, Jesus, in the sublime beauty of Thy agonizing Heart. Thou alone art great! Thou alone art Holy, O God, in the humiliation of the divine Host! Thou alone are the most High, hidden in the unbloody sacrifice of this altar!
Glory be to Thee, Lord God, King of Heaven, but willing to live in the Gethsemane of a humble Tabernacle. Glor be to Thee, Eucharistic Jesus, in the celestial heights, the abode of Angels. Praise to Thee on earth, the abode of men!
O Lord, in the name of all Thy brothers and sisters, and especially in the name of all those who suffer with love and faith, kneeling before Thee, we adore the tears, the solitude, the anguish, the weariness, all the bitterness, all the agony of Thy Sacred Heart. We believe, Jesus, that Thou art the Christ, the God-Man of redeeming sorrows.

Jesus, Mary, I love Thee; Save Souls!
Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)
Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.




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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

St Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face, ora pro nobis

taken from the Raccolta

Prayer invoking the help of dearest St Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face




O marvellous Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who, in thy brief mortal career, didst become a mirror of angelic purity, of daring love and of whole-hearted surrender to Almighty God, now that thou art enjoying the recompense of thy virtues, turn thine eyes of mercy upon us who trust in thee. Obtain for us the grace to keep our hearts and minds pure and clean like unto thine, and to abhor in all sincerity whatever might tarnish ever so slightly the ouster of a virtue so sublime, a virtue that endears us to thy heavenly Bridegroom. Ah, dear Saint, grant us to feel in every need the power of thy intercession; give us comfort in all the bitterness of this life and especially at its latter end, that we may be worthy to share eternal happiness with thee in paradise. Amen.

V: Pray for us, O blessed Therese,
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O Lord, who hast said, "Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to walk in the footsteps of thy blessed Virgin Therese with a humble and single heart, that we may attain to everlasting rewards: Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

An indulgence of 300 days, once a day.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if these prayers are said daily with devotion for an entire month (S. P. Ap. , July 2, 1925 and Sept. 30, 1935)

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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Beethoven, Violin Concerto in D Op. 61

The violin has been serenading my soul these past 2 days.

This is absolutely brilliant.

Happy historical Feast Day of the Apparition of St Michael the Archangel on this otherwise Ferial day!!! : )



Composer: Beethoven
Violin Concerto in D, Opus 61
Violinist: Issac Stern
New York Philharmonic, 1959
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein

Allegro ma non troppo
Larghetto
Rondo (Allegro)

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Padre Pio

I seem to be doing the most here when marking is piling on my table. Deo gratias et Mariae I am getting along fine with marking : ) the pile is still there and will be higher tomorrow, but I am only making full use of all my break times to wonder and think, to deliberate and seek counsel, to ... : )

I found this video:


I do think that the invention of the moving camera (or the camera capable of storing moving images) is such a wonderful invention! - I always wish that I could see dearest St Pio when he was alive - but the hope is not all gone - we all can pray that we will see him one day together with Jesus and Mary and all the angels and saints : ) but with the video camera, at least the videos and images produced can help us here on earth. : ) It was such a wonder, watching videos of Padre Pio moving around !!! Can you imagine what it would be like, if only we can see our real and dear St Therese, walking and praying about while on earth?

I found a documentary on St Pio. However, I have yet to watch it. I have embedded it here so that I can easily find it later when I have the time to watch. Content, thus, I'm not too sure about. : /
Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor: Max Bruch & Beethoven :))

I have been listening to this, since Saturday. It has been keeping me sane, amidst the marking frenzy. : ) 

Mother Dearest, Mother Fairest, in this month of May, ora pro nobis (for all teachers), dankeschoen! Deo gratias et Mariae!



Max Bruch (1838-1920)

Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26



Yehudi Menuhin, violin

performed in 1961

Conductor: Ferenc Fricsay 
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

the next few videos are of the same music, but performed (and thus interpreted) by different people:
Itzhak Perlman (b. 1945), violin
André Previn (b. 1929), conductor
London Symphony Orchestra

Written in 1866.

Recorded in 1973.

I. Prelude: Allegro moderato
II. Adagio


III. Finale: Allegro energico


For my easy reference, again: 6 hours worth of Beethoven:




Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

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Saturday, May 03, 2014

Trustful Surrender: How to be like a CHILD ... Some thoughts

I was thinking about this today, while at a concert listening to Ravel's (!!!) Mother Goose's Suite.

[1] At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? [2] And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, [3]And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. [4] Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. [5] And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. 

The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 18: 
http://www.drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=47&ch=18&l=3#x

How does one become as like little children? How does one be like a child? What does it mean to become as like little children?

These questions may baffle a young adult coming from the throes of teenage life (how so? since a young adult has just graduated from being a child!), may baffle an adult, a middle aged adult, or a person of any age, not a child. How does one pick out the essentials of being like a child

The answer came to me rather suddenly, Deo volente, Deo gratias et Mariae

Trustful Surrender

Juxtaposing my experience as a new mother, my thoughts about Mother Mary and Jesus, my thoughts....

What does it mean to become as like little children?
It is an express command from dearest Jesus - to stop being adult like, to portray and live out (!) (note the bolded point: because the word converted is used in the Gospelcharacteristics of children - or else we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

There are 3 main points to this section:

(1) Children are totally "in the mercy" of their parents, even though they have the opportunity to exercise their own free will

(2) Children are innocent. (Innocent is defined as: free from moral wrong, not corrupted and doing everything with absolutely no malicious intention)

(3) It is so easy to make a child extremely happy! The little things in life, the "Little Way" especially of St Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face

(I will need to mark now, but I will come back to this as soon as I can. : (   please pray for me)

and I will like to end this post with this excerpt from the same Gospel quoted above, in my state of life as a mother and in my job as an educator, I need to remind myself of this:


[6] But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. [7] Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. [8] And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. [9] And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. [10] See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
[6] Shall scandalize: That is, shall put a stumblingblock in their way, and cause them to fall into sin.
[7] It must needs be: Viz., considering the wickedness and corruption of the world.
[8] Scandalize thee: That is, cause thee to offend.
The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 18: 
http://www.drbo.org/x/d?b=drb&bk=47&ch=18&l=3#x


Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Jesuit Model of Education by Fr MacMahon - EDOCERE.ORG

http://www.edocere.org/articles/jesuit_model_education.htm

How I wish I can teach in a school with a sound and proper Catholic system

Let me quote from the above article link from www.edocere.org 

The Ends
The ultimate end is to lead students to the knowledge and love of God. Essentially, education is ultimately apostolic. It is an apostolic mission. We instill in children a knowledge and love of Almighty God, a knowledge and love of the holy Catholic Faith, an enthusiasm for the Catholic Faith, manifest its importance: that it is the first principle, that it is not just something they do on Sunday, or something they do in religion class. It is something which is important all of the time —it must penetrate and permeate! The school, the education, the method, the curriculum, whatever it may be: these are means to that end, that they know, love, and serve Almighty God. We are aspiring to form Christ in each and every one of those students. What greater role is there?
The proximate educational aims are, first, to develop all the powers of the body and soul. It’s the whole man that is being formed: his body, senses, memory, imagination, intellect, and will. It is developing, disciplining, and directing all the capacities of the human personality. That is the purpose of education. Here is a remarkable quote from the Ratio Studiorum:
The development of the student’s intellectual capacity is the school’s most characteristic part. However, this development will be defective and even dangerous unless it is strengthened and completed by the training of the will and the formation of the character.
If you are just shooting for intellectual knowledge and you are not strengthening the will and forming the character at the same time, not only is education defective, but it is capable of being "even dangerous," and possibly extremely so! Education prepares nature to receive and cooperate with Our Lord’s grace. We are instructing the intellect, training the will, and forming the character —in other words, the whole man —based upon serious principles.

Points to Note:

Education is:
1) instructing the intellect
2) training the will
3) forming the character

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Archbishop Lefebvre! :)


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Good Friday


said Jesus to the Filiae Jerusalem 
with His Cross, bearing heavily on His most precious, yet bruised and scourged body,
on His Way to Mount Calvary
Parce Domine, parce populo tuo. Ne in aeternum, irascaris nobis. 
Parce Domine, parce populo tuo. Ne in aeternum, irascaris nobis. 
Parce Domine, parce populo tuo. Ne in aeternum, irascaris nobis. 


Juxta crucem tecum stare,
Et me tibi sociare
In planctu desidero
By the †cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.
(From the Stabat Mater)


[Prayer for the Sovereign Pontiff] St Catherine of Siena

O Most High and ineffable God, I have sinned and am not worthy to pray to Thee, but Thou canst render me less unworthy. Punish, O Lord, my sins and do not look upon my misery. 

I received a body from Thee. I give it back to Thee and I offer it to Thee. Here is my person and my very blood; strike, destroy! Reduce my bones to dust, but grant that which I ask for the Sovereign Pontiff, Unique Spouse of Thy Unique Spouse.

May he always know Thy Will. May he love and follow it, so that we do not perish. Give to him, O my God, a new heart; so that Thy grace may always grow in him. May he not tire in carrying the standard of Thy Holy Cross. May he dispense to the [unbelievers], the treasures of Thy Mercy, as he does to us who benefit from the Passion and Blood of the Lamb without blemish, Thy beloved Son. 

I have sinned, Lord. Eternal God, have mercy on me. Amen.


Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori. 

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

In the footsteps of St Francis Xavier


St Francis Xavier was in Malacca for a total of 4 times, each of varying durations. 

*"I will post up all I remember of St Francis Xavier asap!" 

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Note to Parents and Teachers

Parents and teachers should be vigilant that nothing is introduced into the curriculum which violates a child’s innocence and even attempts to instill in the child gravely wrong ways of thinking.


O Holy Ghost, please help us as we go on this journey, as you always have. What responsibility we have and how hard it is to not violate a child's innocence because it is very hard not to heed the call of worldly and senseless pleasures. 

ACT of CONFIDENCE
By Saint Claude de la Columbiere

My God, I am so intimately convinced that Thou dost watch over all those that hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing while we expect all from Thee, that I am resolved to live without anxiety in the future, casting all my care on Thee. "In peace I will sleep and I will rest for Thou hast wonderfully established me in hope." (Ps IV, 9,10) 

Men may turn against me: sickness may take away my strength, and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin, but I will never lose my hope. I will keep it even to the last moment of my life, and all the demons in hell shall try in vain to tear it from me. In peace I will sleep and I will rest.

Others may look for happiness from their riches or their talents; they may rely upon the innocence of their lives, the rigour of their penance, the number of their good works, or the fervour of their prayers; but for me, O Lord, my confidence shall be my confidence itself. For Thou hast wonderfully established me in hope.

This confidence has never decieved anyone. No one hath hoped in the Lord and been put to shame. I am sure that I shall be eternally happy, because I hope firmly to be so, and it is from Thee, O Lord, that I hope it. In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded forever.

I know that I am frail and changeable; I know the power of temptation against the most firmly based virtues: I have seen the stars of heaven and the pillars of the firmament fall; but not even this can make me fear. As long as I hope, I am safe from every evil, and I am sure of always hoping because I hope for this unchanging hope. For Thou, O Lord, hast wonderfully established me in hope.

In fine, I am sure that I cannot hope too much in Thee; and that I cannot obtain less than I hope for from Thee. Thus I hope that Thou wilt uphold me (and my family) in the greatest dangers, protect me (and my family) in the most violent assaults, and make my weakness triumph over my most formidable enemies. I hope that Thou wilt love me always, and that I also shall love Thee with unfailing love; and to carry my hope at once as far as it can go, I hope for Thee from Thyself, my Creator, both in time and eternity. Amen.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

St Benedict, Father of Western Monasticism, twin of St Scholastica and Patron Saint against Poison

Today is the Feast of St Benedict! 

Here is a little on him I grabbed from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Ford, H. (1907). St. Benedict of Nursia. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved March 21, 2014 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02467b.htm

 St Benedict

his twin sister, St Scholastica


Benedict was the son of a Roman noble of Nursia, a small town near Spoleto, and a tradition, which St. Bede accepts, makes him a twin with his sister Scholastica. His boyhood was spent in Rome, where he lived with his parents and attended the schools until he had reached his higher studies. Then "giving over his books, and forsaking his father's house and wealth, with a mind only to serve God, he sought for some place where he might attain to the desire of his holy purpose; and in this sort he departed [from Rome], instructed with learned ignorance and furnished with unlearned wisdom" (Dial. St. Greg., II, Introd. in Migne, P.L. LXVI). There is much difference of opinion as to Benedict's age at the time. It has been very generally stated as fourteen, but a careful examination of St. Gregory's narrative makes it impossible to suppose him younger than nineteen or twenty. He was old enough to be in the midst of his literary studies, to understand the real meaning and worth of the dissolute and licentious lives of his companions, and to have been deeply affected himself by the love of a woman (Ibid. II, 2). He was capable of weighing all these things in comparison with the life taught in the Gospels, and chose the latter, He was at the beginning of life, and he had at his disposal the means to a career as a Roman noble; clearly he was not a child, As St. Gregory expresses it, "he was in the world and was free to enjoy the advantages which the world offers, but drew back his foot which he had, as it were, already set forth in the world" (ibid., Introd.). If we accept the date 480 for his birth, we may fix the date of his abandoning the schools and quitting home at about A.D. 500.

Benedict does not seem to have left Rome for the purpose of becoming a hermit, but only to find some place away from the life of the great city; moreover, he took his old nurse with him as a servant and they settled down to live in Enfide, near a church dedicated to St. Peter, in some kind of association with "a company of virtuous men" who were in sympathy with his feelings and his views of life. Enfide, which the tradition of Subiaco identifies with the modern Affile, is in the Simbrucini mountains, about forty miles from Rome and two from Subiaco. It stands on the crest of a ridge which rises rapidly from the valley to the higher range of mountains, and seen from the lower ground the village has the appearance of a fortress. As St. Gregory's account indicates, and as is confirmed by the remains of the old town and by the inscriptions found in the neighbourhood, Enfide was a place of greater importance than is the present town. At Enfide Benedict worked his first miracle by restoring to perfect condition an earthenware wheat-sifter (capisterium) which his old servant had accidentally broken. The notoriety which this miracle brought upon Benedict drove him to escape still farther from social life, and "he fled secretly from his nurse and sought the more retired district of Subiaco". His purpose of life had also been modified. He had fled Rome to escape the evils of a great city; he now determined to be poor and to live by his own work. "For God's sake he deliberately chose the hardships of life and the weariness of labour" (ibid., 1).
A short distance from Enfide is the entrance to a narrow, gloomy valley, penetrating the mountains and leading directly to Subiaco. Crossing the Anio and turning to the right, the path rises along the left face oft the ravine and soon reaches the site of Nero's villa and of the huge mole which formed the lower end of the middle lake; across the valley were ruins of the Roman baths, of which a few great arches and detached masses of wall still stand. Rising from the mole upon twenty five low arches, the foundations of which can even yet be traced, was the bridge from the villa to the baths, under which the waters of the middle lake poured in a wide fall into the lake below. The ruins of these vast buildings and the wide sheet of falling water closed up the entrance of the valley to St. Benedict as he came from Enfide; today the narrow valley lies open before us, closed only by the far off mountains. The path continues to ascend, and the side of the ravine, on which it runs, becomes steeper, until we reach a cave above which the mountain now rises almost perpendicularly; while on the right hand it strikes in a rapid descent down to where, in St. Benedict's day, five hundred feet below, lay the blue waters of the lake. The cave has a large triangular-shaped opening and is about ten feet deep. On his way from Enfide, Benedict met a monk, Romanus, whose monastery was on the mountain above the cliff overhanging the cave. Romanus had discussed with Benedict the purpose which had brought him to Subiaco, and had given him the monk's habit. By his advice Benedict became a hermit and for three years, unknown to men, lived in this cave above the lake. St. Gregory tells us little of these years, He now speaks of Benedict no longer as a youth (puer), but as a man (vir) of God. Romanus, he twice tells us, served the saint in every way he could. The monk apparently visited him frequently, and on fixed days brought him food.

During these three years of solitude, broken only by occasional communications with the outer world and by the visits of Romanus, he matured both in mind and character, in knowledge of himself and of his fellow-man, and at the same time he became not merely known to, but secured the respect of, those about him; so much so that on the death of the abbot of a monastery in the neighbourhood (identified by some with Vicovaro), the community came to him and begged him to become its abbot. Benedict was acquainted with the life and discipline of the monastery, and knew that "their manners were diverse from his and therefore that they would never agree together: yet, at length, overcome with their entreaty, he gave his consent" (ibid., 3). The experiment failed; the monks tried to poison him, and he returned to his cave. From this time his miracles seen to have become frequent, and many people, attracted by his sanctity and character, came to Subiaco to be under his guidance. For them he built in the valley twelve monasteries, in each of which he placed a superior with twelve monks. In a thirteenth he lived with "a few, such as he thought would more profit and be better instructed by his own presence" (ibid., 3). He remained, however, the father or abbot of all. With the establishment of these monasteries began the schools for children; and amongst the first to be brought were Maurus and Placid.

The remainder of St. Benedict's life was spent in realizing the ideal of monasticism which he has left us drawn out in his Rule, and before we follow the slight chronological story given by St. Gregory, it will be better to examine the ideal, which, as St. Gregory says, is St. Benedict's real biography (ibid., 36). We will deal here with the Rule only so far as it is an element in St. Benedict's life. For the relations which it bore to the monasticism of previous centuries, and for its influence throughout the West on civil and religious government, and upon the spiritual life of Christians, the reader is referred to the articles MONASTICISM and RULE OF SAINT BENEDICT.

The Benedictine rule

1. Before studying St. Benedict's Rule it is necessary to point out that it is written for laymen, not for clerics. The saint's purpose was not to institute an order of clerics with clerical duties and offices, but an organization and a set of rules for the domestic life of such laymen as wished to live as fully as possible the type of life presented in the Gospel. "My words", he says, "are addressed to thee, whoever thou art, that, renouncing thine own will, dost put on the strong and bright armour of obedience in order to fight for the Lord Christ, our true King." (Prol. to Rule.) Later, the Church imposed the clerical state upon Benedictines, and with the state came a preponderance of clerical and sacerdotal duties, but the impress of the lay origin of the Benedictines has remained, and is perhaps the source of some of the characteristics which mark them off from later orders.

2. Another characteristic feature of the saint's Rule is its view of work. His so-called order was not established to carry on any particular work or to meet any special special crisis in the Church, as has been the case with other orders. With Benedict the work of his monks was only a means to goodness of life. The great disciplinary force for human nature is work; idleness is its ruin. The purpose of his Rule was to bring men "back to God by the labour of obedience, from whom they had departed by the idleness of disobedience". Work was the first condition of all growth in goodness. It was in order that his own life might be "wearied with labours for God's sake" that St. Benedict left Enfide for the cave at Subiaco. It is necessary, comments St. Gregory, that God's elect should at the beginning, when life and temptations are strong are strong in them, "be wearied with labour and pains". In the regeneration of human nature in the order of discipline, even prayer comes after work, for grace meets with no co-operation in the soul and heart of an idler. When the Goth "gave over the world" and went to Subiaco, St. Benedict gave him a bill-hook and set him to clear away briars for the making of a garden. "Ecce! labora!" go and work. Work is not, as the civilization of the time taught, the condition peculiar to slaves; it is the universal lot of man, necessary for his well-being as a man, and essential for him as a Christian.

3. The religious life, as conceived by St. Benedict is essentially social. Life apart from one's fellows, the life of a hermit, if it is to be wholesome and sane, is possible only for a few, and these few must have reached an advanced stage of self-discipline while living with others (Rule, 1). The Rule, therefore, is entirely occupied with regulating the life of a community of men who live and work and pray and eat together, and this is not merely for a course of training, but as a permanent element of life at its best. The Rule conceives the superiors as always present and in constant touch with every member of the government, which is best described as patriarchal, or paternal (ibid., 2, 3, 64). The superior is the head of a family; all are the permanent members of a household. Hence, too, much of the spiritual teaching of the Rule is concealed under legislation which seems purely social and domestic organization (ibid. 22-23, 35-41). So intimately connected with domestic life is the whole framework and teaching of the Rule that a Benedictine may be more truly said to enter or join a particular household than to join an order. The social character of Benedictine life has found expression in a fixed type for monasteries and in the kind of works which Benedictines undertake, and it is secured by an absolute communism in possessions (ibid. 33, 34, 54, 55), by the rigorous suppression of all differences of worldly rank - "no one of noble birth may [for that reason] be put before him that was formerly a slave" (ibid. 2). and by the enforced presence of everyone at the routine duties of the household.

4. Although private ownership is most strictly forbidden by the Rule, it was no part of St. Benedict's conception of monastic life that his monks, as a body, should strip themselves of all wealth and live upon the alms of the charitable; rather his purpose was to restrict the requirements of the individual to what was necessary and simple, and to secure that the use and administration of the corporate possessions should be in strict accord with the teaching of the Gospel. The Benedictine ideal of poverty is quite different from the Franciscan. The Benedictine takes no explicit vow of poverty; he only vows obedience according to the Rule. The rule allows all that is necessary to each individual, together with sufficient and varied clothing, abundant food (excluding only the flesh of quadrupeds), wine and ample sleep (ibid., 39, 40, 41, 55). Possessions could be held in common, they might be large, but they were to be administered for the furtherance of the work of the community and for the benefit of others. While the individual monk was poor, the monastery was to be in a position to give alms, not to be compelled to seek them. It was to relieve the poor, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to bury the dead, to help the afflicted (ibid., 4), to entertain all strangers (ibid., 3). The poor came to Benedict to get help to pay their debts (Dial. St. Greg., 27); they came for food (ibid., 21, 28).

5. St. Benedict originated a form of government which is deserving of study. It is contained in chapters 2, 3, 31, 64, 65 of the Rule and in certain pregnant phrases scattered through other chapters. As with the Rule itself, so also his scheme of government is intended not for an order but for a single community. He presupposes that the community have bound themselves, by their promise of stability, to spend their lives together under the Rule. The superior is then elected by a free and universal suffrage. The government may be described as a monarchy, with the Rule as its constitution. Within the four corners of the Rule everything is left to the discretion of the abbot, the abuse of whose authority is checked by religion (Rule, 2), by open debate with the community on all important matters, and with its representative elders in smaller concerns (ibid., 3). The reality of these checks upon the wilfulness of the ruler can be appreciated only when it is remembered that ruler and community were bound together for life, that all were inspired by the single purpose of carrying out the conception of life taught in the Gospel, and that the relation of the members of the community to one another and to the abbot, and of the abbot to them, were elevated and spiritualized by a mysticism which set before itself the acceptance of the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount as real and work-a-day truths.

6. (a) When a Christian household, a community, has been organized by the willing acceptance of its social duties and responsibilities, by obedience to an authority, and, further, is under the continuous discipline of work and self-denial, the next step in the regeneration of its members in their return to God is prayer. The Rule deals directly and explicitly only with public prayer. For this Benedict assigns the Psalms and Canticles, with readings from the Scriptures and Fathers. He devotes eleven chapters out of the seventy-three of his Rule to regulating this public prayer, and it is characteristic of the freedom of his Rule and of the "moderation" of the saint, that he concludes his very careful directions by saying that if any superior does not like his arrangement he is free to make another; this only he says he will insist on, that the whole Psalter will be said in the course of a week. The practice of the holy Fathers, he adds, was resolutely "to say in a single day what I pray we tepid monks may get through in a whole week" (ibid., 18). On the other hand, he checks indiscreet zeal by laying down the general rule "that prayer made in common must always be short" (ibid., 20). It is very difficult to reduce St. Benedict's teaching on prayer to a system, for this reason, that in his conception of the Christian character, prayer is coexistent with the whole life, and life is not complete at any point unless penetrated by prayer. .

(b) The form of prayer which thus covers the whole of our waking hours, St. Benedict calls the first degree of humility. It consists in realizing the presence of God (ibid., 7). The first step begins when the spiritual is joined to the merely human, or, as the saint expresses it, it is the first step in a ladder, the rungs of which rest at one end in the body and at the other in the soul. The ability to exercise this form of prayer is fostered by that care of the "heart" on which the saint so often insists; and the heart is saved from the dissipation that would result from social intercourse by the habit of mind which sees in everyone Christ Himself. "Let the sick be served in very deed as Christ Himself" (ibid., 36). "Let all guests that come be received as Christ" (ibid., 53). "Whether we be slaves or freemen, we are all one in Christ and bear an equal rank in the service of Our Lord" (ibid., 2).

(c) Secondly, there is public prayer. This is short and is to be said at intervals, at night and at seven distinct hours during the day, so that, when possible, there shall be no great interval without a call to formal, vocal, prayer (ibid., 16). The position which St. Benedict gave to public, common prayer can best be described by saying that he established it as the centre of the common life to which he bound his monks. It was the consecration, not only of the individual, but of the whole community to God by the oft-repeated daily public acts of faith. and of praise and adoration of the Creator; and this public worship of God, the opus Dei, was to form the chief work of his monks, and to be the source from which all other works took their inspiration, their direction, and their strength.

(d) Lastly, there is private prayer, for which the saint does not legislate. It follows individual gifts - "If anyone wishes to pray in private, let him go quietly into the oratory and pray, not with a loud voice, but with tears and fervour of heart" (ibid., 52). "Our prayer ought to be short and with purity of heart, except it be perchance prolonged by the inspiration of divine grace" (ibid., 20). But if St. Benedict gives no further directions on private prayer, it is because the whole condition and mode of life secured by the Rule, and the character formed by its observance, lead naturally to the higher states of prayer. As the Saint writes: "Whoever, therefore, thou art that hastenest to thy heavenly country, fulfil by the help of Christ this little Rule which we have written for beginners; and then at length thou shalt arrive, under God's protection, at the lofty summits of doctrine and virtue of which we have spoken above" (ibid., 73). for guidance in these higher states the Saint refers to the Fathers, Basil and Cassian.

From this short examination of the Rule and its system of prayer, it will be obvious that to describe the Benedictine as a contemplative order is misleading, if the word is used in its modern technical sense as excluding active work; the "contemplative" is a form of life framed for different circumstances and with a different object from St. Benedict's. The Rule, including its system of prayer and public psalmody, is meant for every class of mind and every degree of learning. It is framed not only for the educated and for souls advanced in perfection, but it organizes and directs a complete life which is adapted for simple folk and for sinners, for the observance of the Commandments and for the beginnings of goodness. "We have written this Rule", writes St. Benedict, "that by observing it in monasteries, we may shew ourselves to have some degree of goodness in life and a beginning of holiness. But for him who would hasten to the perfection of religion, there are the teachings of the holy Fathers, the following whereof bringeth a man to the height of perfection" (ibid., 73). Before leaving the subject of prayer it will be well to point out again that by ordering the public recitation and singing of the Psalter, St. Benedict was not putting upon his monks a distinctly clerical obligation. The Psalter was the common form of prayer of all Christians; we must not read into his Rule characteristics which a later age and discipline have made inseparable from the public recitation of the Divine Office.
We can now take up again the story of Benedict's life. How long he remained at Subiaco we do not know. Abbot Tosti conjectures it was until the year 529. Of these years St. Gregory is content to tell no more than a few stories descriptive of the life of the monks, and of the character and government of St. Benedict. The latter was making his first attempt to realize in these twelve monasteries his conception of the monastic life. We can fill in many of the details from the Rule. By his own experiment and his knowledge of the history of monasticism the saint had learnt that the regeneration of the individual, except in abnormal cases, is not reached by the path of solitude, nor by that of austerity, but by the beaten path of man's social instinct, with its necessary conditions of obedience and work; and that neither the body nor the mind can be safely overstrained in the effort to avoid evil (ibid., 64). Thus, at Subiaco we find no solitaries, no conventual hermits, no great austerities, but men living together in organized communities for the purpose of leading good lives, doing such work as came to their hand - carrying water up the steep mountain-side, doing the other household work, raising the twelve cloisters, clearing the ground, making gardens, teaching children, preaching to the country people, reading and studying at least four hours a day, receiving strangers, accepting and training new-comers, attending the regular hours of prayer, reciting and chanting the Psalter. The life at Subiaco and the character of St. Benedict attracted many to the new monasteries, and their increasing numbers and growing influence came the inevitable jealousy and persecution, which culminated with a vile attempt of a neighboring priest to scandalize the monks by an exhibition of naked women, dancing in the courtyard of the saint's monastery (Dial. St. Greg., 8). To save his followers from further persecution Benedict left Subiaco and went to Monte Cassino.
Upon the crest of Monte Cassino "there was an ancient chapel in which the foolish and simple country people, according to the custom of the old Gentiles, worshipped the god Apollo. Round about it likewise upon all sides there were woods for the service of devils, in which, even to that very time, the mad multitude of infidels did offer most wicked sacrifice. The man of God, coming hither, feat in pieces the idol, overthrew the altar, set fire on the woods and in the temple of Apollo built the oratory of St. Martin: and where the altar of the same Apollo was, he made an oratory of St. John: and by his continual preaching he brought the people dwelling in those parts to embrace the faith of Christ" (ibid., 8). On this spot the saint built his monastery. His experience at Subiaco had led him to alter his plans, and now, instead of building several houses with a small community in each, he kept all his monks in one monastery and provided for its government by appointing a prior and deans (Rule, 65, 21). We find no trace in his Rule, which was most probably written at Monte Cassino, of the view which guided him when he built the twelve small monasteries at Subiaco. The life which we have witnessed at Subiaco was renewed at Subiaco was renewed at Monte Cassino, but the change in the situation and local conditions brought a corresponding modification in the work undertaken by the monks. Subiaco was a retired valley away in the mountains and difficult of access; Cassino was on one of the great highways to the south of Italy, and at no great distance from Capua. This brought the monastery into more frequent communication with the outside world. It soon became a centre of influence in a district in which there was a large population, with several dioceses and other monasteries. Abbots came to see and advise with Benedict. Men of all classes were frequent visitors, and he numbered nobles and bishops among his intimate friends. There were nuns in the neighbourhood whom the monks went to preach to and to teach. There was a village nearby in which St. Benedict preached and made many converts (Dial. St. Greg., 19). The monastery became the protector of the poor, their trustee (ibid., 31), their refuge in sickness, in trial, in accidents, in want.
Thus during the life of the saint we find what has ever since remained a characteristic feature of Benedictine houses, i.e. the members take up any work which is adapted to their peculiar circumstances, any work which may be dictated by their necessities. Thus we find the Benedictines teaching in poor schools and in the universities, practising the arts and following agriculture, undertaking the care of souls, or devoting themselves wholly to study. No work is foreign to the Benedictine, provided only it is compatible with living in community and with the performance of the Divine Office. This freedom in the choice of work was necessary in a Rule which was to be suited to all times and places, but it was primarily the natural result of the which St. Benedict had in view, and which he differs from the founders of later orders. These later had in view some special work to which they wished their disciples to devote themselves; St. Benedict's purpose was only to provide a Rule by which anyone might follow the Gospel counsels, and live, and work and pray, and save his soul. St. Gregory's narrative of the establishment of Monte Cassino does little more for us than to supply disconnected incidents which illustrate the daily life of the monastery. We gain only a few biographical facts. From Monte Cassino St. Benedict founded another monastery near Terracina, on the coast, about forty miles distant (ibid., 22). To the wisdom of long experience and to the mature virtues of the saint, was now added the gift of prophecy, of which St. Gregory gives many examples. Celebrated among these is the story of the visit of Totila, King of the Goths, in the year 543, when the saint "rebuked him for his wicked deeds, and in a few words told him all that should befall him, saying 'Much wickedness do you daily commit, and many sins have you done: now at length give over your sinful life. Into the city of Rome shall you enter, and over the sea shall you pass: nine years shall you reign, and in the tenth shall you leave this mortal life.' The king, hearing these things, was wonderfully afraid, and desiring the holy man to commend him to God in his prayers he departed: and from that time forward he was nothing so cruel as before he had been. Not long after he went to Rome, sailed over into Sicily, and in the tenth year of his reign he lost his kingdom together with his life." (ibid., 15).
Totila's visit to Monte Cassino in 543 is the only certain date we have in the saint's life. It must have occurred when Benedict was advanced in age. Abbot Tosti, following others, puts the saint's death in the same year. Just before his death we hear for the first time of his sister Scholastica. "She had been dedicated from her infancy to Our Lord, and used to come once a year to visit her brother. To whom the man of God went not far from the gate to a place that did belong to the abbey, there to give her entertainment" (ibid., 33). They met for the last time three days before Scholastica's death, on a day "when the sky was so clear that no cloud was to be seen". The sister begged her brother to stay the night, "but by no persuasion would he agree unto that, saying that he might not by any means tarry all night out of his abbey.... The nun receiving this denial of her brother, joining her hands together, laid them on the table; and so bowing her head upon them, she made her prayers to Almighty God, and lifting her head from the table, there fell suddenly such a tempest of lightening and thundering, and such abundance of rain, that neither venerable Bennet, nor the monks that were with him, could put their head out of door" (ibid., 33). Three days later, "Benedict beheld the soul of his sister, which was departed from her body, in the likeness of a dove, to ascend into heaven: who rejoicing much to see her great glory, with hymns and lauds gave thanks to Almighty God, and did impart news of this her death to his monks whom also he sent presently to bring her corpse to his abbey, to have it buried in that grave which he had provided for himself" (ibid., 34).
It would seem to have been about this time that St. Benedict had that wonderful vision in which he came as near to seeing God as is possible for man in this life. St. Gregory and St. Bonaventure say that Benedict saw God and in that vision of God saw the whole world. St. Thomas will not allow that this could have been. Urban VIII, however, does not hesitate to say that "the saint merited while still in this mortal life, to see God Himself and in God all that is below him". If he did not see the Creator, he saw the light which is in the Creator, and in that light, as St. Gregory says, "saw the whole world gathered together as it were under on beam of the sun. At the same time he saw the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua, in a fiery globe carried up by the angels to Heaven" (ibid., 35). Once more the hidden things of God were shown to him, and he warned his brethren, both "those that lived daily with him and those that dwelt far off" of his approaching death. "Six days before he left this world he gave orders to have his sepulchre opened, and forthwith falling into an ague, he began with burning heat to wax faint; and when as the sickness daily increased, upon the sixth day he commanded his monks to carry him into the oratory, where he did arm himself receiving the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ; and having his weak body holden up betwixt the hands of his disciples, he stood with his own hands lifted up to heaven; and as he was in that manner praying, he gave up the ghost" (ibid., 37). He was buried in the same grave with his sister "in the oratory of St. John the Baptist, which [he] himself had built when he overthrew the altar of Apollo" (ibid.). There is some doubt whether the relics of the saint are still at Monte Cassino, or whether they were moved in the seventh century to Fleury. Abbot Tosti in his life of St. Benedict, discusses the question at length (chap. xi) and decides the controversy in favour of Monte Cassino.
Perhaps the most striking characteristics in St. Benedict are his deep and wide human feeling and his moderation. The former reveals itself in the many anecdotes recorded by St. Gregory. We see it in his sympathy and care for the simplest of his monks; his hastening to the help of the poor Goth who had lot his bill-hook; spending the hours of the night in prayer on the mountain to save his monks the labour of carrying water, and to remove from their lives a "just cause of grumbling"; staying three days in a monastery to help to induce one of the monks to "remain quietly at his prayers as the other monks did", instead of going forth from the chapel and wandering about "busying himself worldly and transitory things". He lets the crow from the neighboring woods come daily when all are at dinner to be fed by himself. His mind is always with those who are absent; sitting in his cell he knows that Placid is fallen into the lake; he foresees the accident to the builders and sends a warning to them; in spirit and some kind of real presence he is with the monks "eating and refreshing themselves" on their journey, with his friend Valentinian on his way to the monastery, with the monk taking a present from the nuns, with the new community in Terracina. Throughout St. Gregory's narrative he is always the same quiet, gentle, dignified, strong, peace-loving man who by the subtle power of sympathy becomes the centre of the lives and interests of all about him. We see him with his monks in the church, at their reading, sometimes in the fields, but more commonly in his cell, where frequent messengers find him "weeping silently in his prayers", and in the night hours standing at "the window of his cell in the tower, offering up his prayers to God"; and often, as Totila found him, sitting outside the door of his cell, or "before the gate of the monastery reading a book". He has given his own portrait in his ideal picture of an abbot (Rule, 64):


It beseemeth the abbot to be ever doing some good for his brethren rather than to be presiding over them. He must, therefore, be learned in the law of God, that he may know whence to bring forth things new and old; he must be chaste, sober, and merciful, ever preferring mercy to justice, that he himself may obtain mercy. Let him hate sin and love the brethren. And even in his corrections, let him act with prudence, and not go too far, lest while he seeketh too eagerly to scrape off the rust, the vessel be broken. Let him keep his own frailty ever before his eyes, and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken. And by this we do not mean that he should suffer vices to grow up; but that prudently and with charity he should cut them off, in the way he shall see best for each, as we have already said; and let him study rather to be loved than feared. Let him not be violent nor over anxious, not exacting nor obstinate, not jealous nor prone to suspicion, or else he will never be at rest. In all his commands, whether spiritual or temporal, let him be prudent and considerate. In the works which he imposeth let him be discreet and moderate, bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob, when he said: 'If I cause my flocks to be overdriven, they will all perish in one day'. Taking, then, such testimonies as are borne by these and the like words to discretion, the mother of virtues, let him so temper all things, that the strong may have something to strive after, and the weak nothing at which to take alarm.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Anne, Therese, I love You; Save Souls!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum Cor tuum. (ter)

Deus propitius esto mihi peccatori

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