Tag Archives: St. Benedict

Fratres Daily Sacrifice of the Mass Readings: Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin 02.10.09

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Reading 1
Gn 1:20-2:4a

God said,
“Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures,
and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.”
And so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters
and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems,
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying,
“Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas;
and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
Evening came, and morning followed-the fifth day.

Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures:
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.”
And so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.
Then God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”

God created man in his image;
in the divine image he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed-the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing,
he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy,
because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.
Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (2ab) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place-
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Gospel
Mk 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem
gathered around Jesus,
they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals
with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands.
(For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews,
do not eat without carefully washing their hands,
keeping the tradition of the elders.
And on coming from the marketplace
they do not eat without purifying themselves.
And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed,
the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)
So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him,
“Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders
but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?”
He responded,
“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.”
 

St. Scholastica

nun

St. Scholastica, like her brother, dedicated herself to God from early youth. Information on the virgin Scholastica is very scanty. In his Second Book of Dialogues (Ch. 33 and 34) Pope St. Gregory has described for us the last meeting between brother and sister:
“His sister Scholastica, who had been consecrated to God in early childhood, used to visit with him once a year. On these occasions he would go to meet her in a house belonging to the monastery a short distance from the entrance. For this particular visit he joined her there with a few of his disciples and they spent the whole day singing God’s praises and conversing about the spiritual life.

“When darkness was setting in they took their meal together and continued their conversation at table until it was quite late. Then the holy nun said to him, ‘Please do not leave me tonight, brother. Let us keep on talking about the joys of heaven till morning.’ ‘What are you saying, sister?’ he replied. ‘You know that I cannot stay away from the monastery.’ The sky was so clear at the time, there was not a cloud in sight.

At her brother’s refusal Scholastica folded her hands on the table and rested her head upon them in earnest prayer. When she looked up again, there was a sudden burst of lightning and thunder accompanied by such a downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to set foot outside the door. By shedding a flood of tears while she prayed, this holy nun had darkened the cloudless sky with a heavy rain. The storm began as soon as her prayer was over. In fact, the two coincided so closely that the thunder was already resounding as she raised her head from the table. The very instant she ended her prayer the rain poured down.

“Realizing that he could not return to the abbey in this terrible storm, Benedict complained bitterly. ‘God forgive you, sister!’ he said. ‘What have you done?’ Scholastica simply answered, ‘When I appealed to you, you would not listen to me. So I turned to my God and He heard my prayer. Leave now if you can. Leave me here and go back to your monastery.’

“This, of course, he could not do. He had no choice now but to stay, in spite of his unwillingness. They spent the entire night together and both of them derived great profit from the holy thoughts they exchanged about the interior life. The next morning Scholastica returned to her convent and Benedict to his monastery.

“Three days later as he stood in his room looking up toward the sky, he beheld his sister’s soul leaving her body and entering the heavenly court in the form of a dove. Overjoyed at her eternal glory, he gave thanks to God in hymns of praise. Then, after informing his brethren of her death, he sent some of them to bring her body to the abbey and bury it in the tomb he had prepared for himself. The bodies of these two were now to share a common resting place, just as in life their souls had always been one in God.”

Her tomb is at Monte Cassino.

 Hat/Tip: Catholic Culture – Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch.

 Patron: Against rain; convulsive children; nuns; storms.

Symbols: Nun with crozier and crucifix; nun with dove flying from her mouth.

Pope Benedict XVI General Audience: ST. BENEDICT, FATHER OF MONASTICISM, PATRON SAINT OF EUROPE

VATICAN CITY, 9 APR 2008 (VIS) – Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during this morning’s general audience to St. Benedict of Nursia, “the father of western monasticism, who with his life and work exercised a fundamental influence on the development of European civilisation and culture”. The audience, held in St. Peter’s Square, was attended by 20,000 people.

The most important source for the life of the saint, the Pope explained, is the second book of “Dialogues” written by St. Gregory the Great, in which Benedict features as the “shining star” who shows the way out of the “dark night of history”, in other words, the crisis of values and institutions caused by the fall of the Roman empire.

St. Benedict’s work and his Rule led to “a true spiritual ferment which over the course of the centuries – well beyond the confines of his homeland and his time – changed the face of Europe and created, with the collapse of political unity, a new spiritual and cultural unity, that of the Christian faith shared by the people of the continent”.

St. Benedict was born to a wealthy family around the year 480. He went to school in Rome but before completing his studies retired to a monastic community in Enfide. Subsequently he spent three years in a cave at Subiaco where he “underwent the three fundamental temptations that all human beings face: self-affirmation and the desire to place oneself at the centre, … sensuality, … and anger and revenge”. This, said the Holy Father, was because “St. Benedict was convinced that only by overcoming these temptations would he be able find the right words to give others in their situations of need”.

In the year 529 the founder of the Benedictine Order moved to Monte Cassino, “a height that dominates the surrounding plains and is visible from a distance”. This was a symbolic decision on the saint’s part, said the Pope, because “monastic life has its raison d’etre in withdrawal and concealment, but a monastery also has a public role in the life of the Church and of society”.

Throughout his life St. Benedict “was immersed in an atmosphere of prayer, the main foundation of his existence. Without prayer there is no experience of God, but Benedict’s spirituality was not an interior life divorced from reality. In the disquiet and confusion of his time, he lived under the gaze of God and with his own gaze fixed upon God, though without losing sight of his daily duties and the concrete needs of mankind”.

St. Benedict died in 547. His famous Rule “provides useful advice not only to monks but to everyone seeking guidance on their journey to God. For its precision, its humanity, and its sober discernment between what is essential and what is secondary in spiritual life, the Rule has maintained its illuminating power up to today”.

In 1964, Paul VI named Benedict as patron saint of Europe. “Having just emerged from a century profoundly marked by two world wars and following the collapse of the great ideologies, … Europe today is searching for its own identity”, remarked Pope Benedict.

“In order to create a new and lasting unity”, the Pope concluded, “political, economic and juridical measures are necessary, but it is also necessary to generate an ethical and spiritual renewal which draws on the continent’s Christian roots. Without this vital lifeblood, man remains exposed to the danger of succumbing to the ancient temptation of seeking redemption alone, a utopia which in 20th century Europe … caused a retrocession without precedent in human history”.