Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11 is the feast of St. Benedict

Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi has a beautiful reflection on the life and spirituality of St. Benedict.  Father bases his meditation upon an address to the monks of Subiaco by Cardinal Ratzinger:
On April 1, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger gave a conference at Subiaco, the cradle of Benedictine life. Nineteen days later, as bishop of Rome, he assumed the name of Saint Benedict. Pope Benedict's message at Subiaco identifies what the world needs above all else. "We need," he said, "men who hold their gaze directly towards God." - Men Who Hold Their Gaze Directly Towards God
Fr. Mark's monastery in Tulsa is especially marked with this charism "of adoration of the Eucharistic Face of Christ, [...] for my brother priests, and especially for those whose gaze has, for one reason or another, been distracted -- literally, pulled away from -- the One Thing Necessary." 
Fr. Mark has been specially called to 'this vocation within a vocation', as his profile explains: "His Excellency, Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma has given Father Mark a special mandate to live under the Rule of Saint Benedict in adoration before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus, offering thanksgiving, intercession, and reparation for all his brothers in Holy Orders."
Contemplatives the world over pray for the Church and in particular for priests, in the case of Discalced Carmelite nuns - I believe that intention is specified in their professed purpose for seeking entrance to the monastery.  Unlike women's monasteries, Fr. Mark's monastery is also intended as a place of refuge or repose for diocesan priests especially.  Fr. Mark is "available to the priests and deacons of the Diocese for spiritual and sacramental support in their pursuit of holiness."  Hence the monastery is a place of hospitality and retreat for otherwise busy parish priests.
Fr. Mark has one novice and is expecting more in the fall. 
I especially like this reflection from Father's post:  "Saint Benedict of the Sacro Speco, the sacred grotto of Subiaco, is the model of all who, by choice or circumstances, live alone. His solitude was by no means absolute; he related to the rustic shepherds of the locality and, by his teaching, restored their human dignity. Saint Gregory says that many, having known Benedict, passed from a life that was beastly to the life of grace. By offering a spiritual hospitality, the solitary Benedict refreshed all who sought him out with nourishment drawn from his heart."
Art: The panel illustrates this paragraph from Father's meditation:  "The third period of Saint Benedict's life took place on the heights of Monte Cassino. There, he reached a fullness of maturity in Christ that was revealed when, lifted out of himself, he saw the entire world gathered into a single ray of light before his eyes (cf. Life XXXV). This signifies, of course, that Saint Benedict had come to see all things as God sees them; he had passed into the light of God while yet in the shadows of this world."

1 comment:

  1. Such beautiful and contemplative relfections from Dom Marco.
    I will be in touch with him.
    We attempt to live in the spirit of St. Benedict; we have adapted the black scapular in honor of him...wish we could have celebrated his memorial (we can in the EF on March 21)...Thank you for this reminder of the true mission of Benedictines: "To seek the Face of the Lord"; God knows how this has been abandoned in many monasteries; we attempt to make this present in our daily Eucharistic Adoration and praying of the Liturgy of the Hours (Opus Dei)...maybe it's something to give reparation to the Heart of Jesus...I always hope!


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