Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Saint Benedict: "A teacher of civilization"

Continuing our reflection upon the Pope's talk to the assembled Benedictines at Monte Cassino earlier this year, we take up the section that deals with Saint Benedict as one who directed his monks to Christ "as the one great ideal". This is important for all Christians, no matter what state in life, to rededicate themselves to the Son of God, the Incarnate Word made Flesh, the Prince of Peace.

[H]e [Benedict] was a teacher of civilization who, in suggesting a balanced and adequate vision of the divine requirements and ultimate destiny of the human being, always also kept clearly in mind the needs and reasons of the heart, to teach and inspire authentic brotherhood so that in the complex social relations people would not lose sight of a spiritual unity that would always be capable of building and fostering peace. It is not by chance that the word PAX is used to greet pilgrims and visitors at the entrance of this Abbey, rebuilt after the dreadful disaster of the Second World War; it rises like a silent warning to reject every form of violence in order to build peace: in families, in communities, among peoples and throughout humanity. Saint Benedict invites every person who climbs this hill to seek peace and follow Him..."(Ps 33:14-15) [Rule, Prologue, 17].

Saint Benedict offers families, communities, and society in general a path to peace. The monastery is to be a paradigm of love, service, fraternal relations and a sign of the world to come, in the words of Saint Bernard, "a paradise on earth". Lofty ideals, yet something that this age needs so desperately.

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