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Memorial of Saint Benedict, abbot Lectionary: 597

Reading 1 PRV 2:1-9

My son, if you receive my words and treasure my commands, Turning your ear to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding; Yes, if you call to intelligence, and to understanding raise your voice; If you seek her like silver, and like hidden treasures search her out: Then will you understand the fear of the LORD; the knowledge of God you will find; For the LORD gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; He has counsel in store for the upright, he is the shield of those who walk honestly, Guarding the paths of justice, protecting the way of his pious ones. Then you will understand rectitude and justice, honesty, every good path.


“He has counsel in store for the upright, he is the shield of those who walk honestly, Guarding the paths of justice, protecting the way of his pious ones.”

The sixth century brought forth a great saint who exemplifies the upright, one who walks honestly, acts justly, and was known to be a pious one. His work left him the title, Father of Western Monasticism.

Born of a wealthy noble family, St. Benedict of Norcia received an excellent education in Rome. However, he became disillusioned with amoral lifestyles in society. So, he retreated to live in a cave east of Rome near a town called Subiaco. There, St. Benedict befriended a monk from a nearby monastery who allowed St. Benedict to wear their habit and become a member while remaining to live in the cave.

After three years living as a hermit, the abbot passed and St. Benedict’s community begged him to become the new abbot. He resisted their pleas knowing they would not welcome his leadership. They persisted, so eventually he agreed and consequently the community found they could not abide by his strict ideals. So, they tried to poison him twice. Once, after St. Benedict blessed the cup that held the poison, it shattered before he could drink from it. Another attempt on his life failed when a raven stole the poisoned bread before he could eat of it.

St. Benedict went on to found 12 monasteries, including world renown Monte Cassino, which spread his spirituality of humility, charity, and obedience throughout western civilization. He wrote The Rule for monastics to live by and balanced their life by meditative reading, praying and performing manual labor. His guidance was known for moderation in daily living and a balance in prayer and work to give glory to God.

St. Benedict was appropriately named, for his name means “blessed”. His blessings gave wise guidance in monastic life. His preaching lifted the church by converting many pagans. May we continue to pray for our priests to be on fire for God and to serve God in order to give Him glory like St. Benedict.


PAPA Foundation
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