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Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Feast of Saint Benedict


I attended graduate school at a Benedictine university, Saint John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota. It is located on the grounds of the largest Benedictine congregation in the world; I studied theology there: Church History and Systematics.

The monastery at Saint John’s was home to Godfrey Dieckmann, whose liturgical reform movement in the early to mid-twentieth century had significant influence on the Second Vatican Council and changed the way worship is conducted, and the celebration of the mass throughout the world.

His reforms represented a return to the practices of the early Christians and the ante-nicene era.

While I was at Saint John’s I taught world religions at the preparatory school, I wrote my master’s thesis on the topic of universal salvation, which elicited a great deal of interest from my teachers and classmates, and my work was well regarded.

I took courses on medieval monastic history, monastic spirituality and one course specifically related to the Rule of Saint Benedict, from which I have taken one of the phrases that I use most often in my ongoing theological work.

Obsculta!

Which means listen!

It is a phrase which I use interchangeably with: Be mindful!

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Benedict, who purportedly lived between the late fifth-century and the mid sixth-century CE.


Be mindful.

What we know of the life of Saint Benedict comes mostly from the writing of Saint Pope Gregory the first, or Gregory the Great. It is not exactly a biography but rather a reflection on the idealized life of an abbot, most of which is a fiction written c. 593 CE.

Nevertheless, Benedict, real or imagined, produced a Rule (a guide for community living) that became the basis of western monasticism.

Benedicts Rule, enjoins the monk to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience, a commitment to work, and a studious, meditative reflection on the psalms.

The life of Benedict, and the writing attributed to him has influenced the lives of thousands upon millions of people.

I am one of them, and I am thankful for Gregory who had the temerity to invent such a person who was noble in his humility.




Given First 07.11.2020

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