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April 20, 2014

St. Benedict's First Easter as a Hermit

Book Two of the Dialogues: Life of St. Benedict

The man of God, Benedict, coming to this foresaid place, lived there in a narrow cave, where he continued three years unknown to all men, except to Romanus...

At length when almighty God was determined to ease Romanus of his pains, and to have Benedict's life for an example known to the world, that such a candle, set on a candlestick, might shine and give light to the Church of God, our Lord vouchsafed to appear to a certain Priest dwelling a good way off, who had made ready his dinner for Easter day.

He spoke thus to him: "Thou have provided good cheer for thyself, and my servant in such a place is afflicted with hunger." Hearing this, the priest rose up, and on Easter day itself, with such meat as he had prepared, went to the place, where he sought for the man of God among the steep hills, the low valleys and hollow pits, and at length found him in his cave. After they had prayed together, and sitting down had given God thanks, and had much spiritual talk, then the Priest said to him: "Rise up, brother, and let us dine, because today is the feast of Easter."

The man of God answered, and said: "I know that it is Easter with me and a great feast, having found so much favor at God's hands as this day to enjoy your company" (for by reason of his long absence from men, he knew not that it was the great solemnity of Easter). But the reverent Priest again assured him, saying: "Verily, today is the feast of our Lord's Resurrection, and therefore it is not right that you should keep abstinence. Besides I am sent to that end, that we might eat together of such provision as God's goodness hath sent us." Whereupon they said grace, and fell to their meat, and after they had dined, and bestowed some time in talking, the Priest returned to his church.

About the same time likewise, certain shepherds found him in that same cave: and at the first, when they spied him through the bushes, and saw his apparel made of skins, they thought that it had been some beast. After they were acquainted with the servant of God, however, many of them were by his means converted from their beastly life to grace, piety, and devotion. Thus his name in the country there about became famous, and many after this went to visit him, and in exchange for corporal meat which they brought him, they carried away spiritual food for their souls.

To Read the Life of St. Benedict: http://www.osb.org/gen/greg/

April 19, 2014


The Exultet hymn, sung at the Easter Vigil Liturgy, is the Easter Proclamation of the Catholic Church. It is a song that is full of symbolism and beauty, a song that calls the faithful to REJOICE in the Salvation that has been won for us by Christ our Redeemer. For on this Night of Nights we remember that darkness and evil has been conquered forever by the Morning Star, Jesus Christ who has risen victorious over the darkness of His Passion and Death on a Cross. Coming back from the domain of death, the Morning Star will burn forever, shedding its rays of peaceful light on humanity.

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle's perfect praises).

(Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.)
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.

Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants' hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
a flame divided but undimmed,
which glowing fire ignites for God's honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

April 16, 2014

Over Discernment?

This is a very challenging Article, but it makes some very good points.  

Stop Waiting for Your Calling

There seems to be an unsettling trend amongst many able-bodied young Catholics to spend a near minimum of five years – if not longer – “discerning” their vocations. Yes, there are exceptions for those who have been through traumatic events in their life, who have suffered abuse, who still need to mature, and so forth. But generally few have any reason to take so much time in order to make a decision.

To take one example, there are many Catholic couples who have been in exclusive relationships for 3, 4, or even 5 or more years without ever becoming engaged (Crazy!). If one still has doubts after dating someone for up to a year (concupiscence doesn’t help in extending a relationship much longer than unless there is a commitment to marriage), break it off! The heart needs to be protected from growing too attached to someone who does not intend to commit. It’s one thing to be engaged for some time (if the man is deployed, etc.), but as a matter of general practice, the Church recommends engagements no longer than a year to 2 at most in order to be a safeguard for one’s virtue.

It is a similar situation for those in religious life or the priesthood. God isn’t going to finally let someone know after 10, 15, or even 20 years that that isn’t their vocation; one will know the answer to that question long before. It seems that those who leave after a substantial time usually come to realize that they should have left long ago.

What is this crisis? While there is by no means an exhaustive list of reasons as to why this “perpetual discernment” is so commonplace, it seems that a great part of this problem bay be tied to many discerners’ desire to “look for signs” and other mystical confirmations. This phenomenon is characterized by long periods of waiting, “just to know for sure.’ Speaking from personal experience – both my own and from being intimately involved in helping and guiding others in their vocation process over the years – I can tell you that God speaks to us not in extraordinary capacities, but through the means of our everyday existence. He will not knock you off your seat and tell you what he wants; those sort of revelations are rare circumstances. He also doesn’t promise absolute clarity about everything – faith is “faith” for a reason. However, God does promise to be with us “until the end of time,” and therein is our consolation. He gives us his alter Christus – the priest – as a director and confessor in order to guide our reasoning and our decisions. If there is difficulty discerning, why not follow the advice of one’s spiritual director?

God isn’t going to make someone spend the greater part of his youth trying to just “figure things out,” or penalize someone for “accidentally” choosing the wrong path. God has given each of us particular talents, abilities, desires, and inclinations. If we really listen – if we pray – he will speak to our hearts and draw us towards his divine will. But he does so quietly, softly, like the “still small voice” (1 Kings 9:11). You will not find him in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, so stop looking there. Instead, make a decision and go forward in confidence and peace. If you are truly seeking God’s will and are doing what you’ve decided is best, God will bring it to fruition; if it is not his will, he will quickly alter your course. And he won’t take a decade or longer to do it, causing you to live in the dark for so long a time. In fact, the moment you make a resolution and act upon it, wonderful things happen. And this affirmation is enough to give us the peace and strength to keep pushing onward and upward.

For more on this article: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.aleteia.org/en/lifestyle/article/stop-waiting-for-your-calling-5224640381190144

April 10, 2014

A Reflection on Chapter 15 of the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 15 of the Rule of St. Benedict:
The Times to say "Alleluia" 

From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption 
let "Alleluia" be said 
both in the Psalms and in the responsories. 
From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent 
let it be said every night 
with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only. 
On every Sunday, however, outside of Lent, 
the canticles, the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext and None 
shall be said with "Alleluia," 
but Vespers with antiphons.

The responsories are never to be said with "Alleluia" 
except from Easter to Pentecost.


          In Chapter 15, St. Benedict regulates the times for saying Alleluia, which means “Praise the Lord!” So why is Benedict so concerned about limiting the use of such a magnificent word? It is because Benedict knew the tremendous meaning Alleluia signifies when it is used in a proper time and place. For instance, Benedict was probably very aware that the only time Alleluia is used in the New Testament is chapter nineteen of the Book of Revelation (verses: 1, 3, 4, 6), the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the triumphal banquet where all the souls redeemed by Christ unceasingly Praise God for His Salvation. For Benedict, life at the monastery was supposed to be a foretaste of this life in Heaven, this Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Therefore, in anticipation of this Heavenly Life, Benedict might have said, “If we will be unceasingly acclaiming Alleluia when we are in Heaven, how could we not also acclaim it while we are still exiles here on earth?” Clearly Benedict knew and loved the beauty of this word! However, he also recognized that we lowly and sinful exiles have yet to fully attain this Blessed Life. Therefore, the most appropriate times for saying Alleluia are related to the times we most vividly remember the Resurrection: the entire season of Easter, Vigils, that is, early in the morning, the time of day that Christ rose from the dead, and Sunday, the day of Resurrection!                              

Pax et Gaudium

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness