Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bread For Saint Benedict

The Transitus of Saint Benedict, from a medieval monastic manuscript.
Today is the old Roman calendar feast of Saint Benedict, as it is one of the days that ancient liturgical usage assigns to his death. Other references indicate the day as July 11, the current feast day in the Roman calendar. A decision was made in the 1970 revision to give precedence to the July date so that the universal feast of Saint Benedict would no longer fall during Lent.

The Benedictine and Cistercian orders, however, observe several feasts of Abba Benedict with the rank of Solemnity. These include July 11, but today is still marked for the particular commemoration of Benedict's passing from this life to eternal glory, known as the Transitus of Saint Benedict.

The end of Benedict's earthly life is a good moment to look at how it all began. We can observe the unfolding of his "conversion" -- in his case, the story of the vocation that took him from the Roman nobility into the desert, and then shaped him to receive the unique charism he gave to the Church.

A perspective on that formative experience is presented in this month's installment of Great Conversion Stories in MAGNIFICAT, between yesterday's and today's prayer sections. I'll shall place it here below as well.

I'm especially fond of this article, not only because of our own family's devotion to Saint Benedict, but also because of the way the story told here highlights a relationship in Benedict's life that so easily escapes notice, yet was so fundamental to the initiation and growth of his vocation.

Holy Father Saint Benedict, pray for all of us,
for the whole Church
and for all who follow your charism
or are inspired by its example,
that as we pray and work,
we might love Christ over all things,
and never despair of the mercy of God.