Progress or Regress

Progress or Regress

  Today is the feast of my holy father St Benedict. In the cultural climate we find ourselves, it’s appropriate to identify with St Benedict in the spirit of his mission. Disappointed in the worldliness of his surroundings, he too faced the truth of the corruption of his time and surrendered to God. In doing so he was blessed with God’s wisdom, and wrote the Holy Rule which even today gives guidance to all as they progress on their journey to God. In America today, we like Europe who after emerging from the wounds of two World Wars and the collapse of so called great ideologies, are still in search of an identity. None of us seem able to learn the lesson that history has taught us ad nauseum;  “In order to create new and lasting unity,...

One model, Christ

One model, Christ

  What we need are men like St Benedict   That’s not my Pollyannish peace perspective, naive about the war on civil society right at our doorsteps, rather it’s an acceptance of a stark reality: that there is no hope for us but God.   “Our hope is only in the Lord. All others will fail.” This is what Dante learned by the end of his journey through the afterlife. This is what we Christians must learn: not the family, not the church, not the state, nothing but God, who is Love. —Rod Dreher   How can Benedict help us? At the tender age of 19 or 20, St Gregory tells us Benedict was yet old enough to be deeply affected by the licentious and dissolute lives he witnessed as a student in Rome but, from his passion to be with God...

Nothing poisonous, nothing hostile.

  I shall lead them forth from the Gentiles, and I shall gather them from foreign lands; I shall bring them into their own land, and I shall feed them on the mountains of Israel.   It was God who brought forth the mountains of Israel, that is to say, the authors of the divine Scriptures.   Feed there that you may feed in safety. Whatever you hear from that source, you should savor. Whatever is foreign to it, reject.   Hear the voice of the shepherd, lest you wander about in the mist. Gather at the mountains of holy Scripture.   There, are the things that will delight your hearts;   there, you will find nothing poisonous, nothing hostile; there the pastures are most plentiful. There, you will be healthy sheep; you will feed safely on...

‘By Degrees’ With St Benedict

‘By Degrees’ With St Benedict

    Every year that passes, my love for St Benedict and his Holy Rule grows deeper. His proposed way of life being one of balance and stability becomes ever more meaningful as we look upon a culture similar to the one of his day…”a dark night of history.” History indeed is a great teacher. You know the saying:   Those who don’t look at history are bound to repeat it.   Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre,  renown Scottish moral and political philosopher, speaks of the loss of virtue and Europe going into a new dark ages. (I’m quite sure we can include the America’s in that diagnosis.)  What the world needs now, he says, is a new Benedict to preserve culture and bring new light and a new beginning. Almost...

St Scholastica

St Scholastica

  The Death of Saint Scholastica by Jean Restout II, 1730, oil on canvas Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tours, France     From the archives:   St Scholastica was the twin sister of St Benedict, the father of western monasticism. The little we know of her is from the Dialogues of St Gregory the Great. It’s interesting to me how little you need to know about someone sometimes… to know everything you need to know. St Gregory tells us as a child, she consecrated herself to God and was very devoted to her brother. When Benedict established his monastery at Monte Cassino, Italy, she chose to settle five miles south at Plombariola where, she founded a convent under the direct rule of her brother. She was the first Benedictine nun.   A charming story is...