Thursday, July 11, 2019

July 11: Saint Benedict's Universal Feast Day

Happy Feast of Saint Benedict to all Benedictines, oblates, and the whole Benedictine spiritual family throughout the world!

Today commemorates the translation of St. Benedict's tomb and relics to the Abbey of Fleury in France in the year 660 (to protect them from Lombard invasions of Italy). The Abbey of Fleury was an important pilgrimage site for over a thousand years. Its monastic community was dispersed by the French Revolution but the monastery remained in existence throughout the 19th c. period of French anticlericalism. The community of monks was restored in the 20th century. The current Roman calendar marks this day as Benedict's feast to insure that it can be celebrated by the whole Church. The date of his death (March 21) always falls during Lent; nevertheless it remains a Solemnity on the Benedictine calendar and is a III class feast on the 1962 calendar followed by the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite. Don't be confused. Just have a blessed and happy day!

We are well instructed by these words preached 11 years ago on this day by then-Pope Benedict XVI. On this feast, we pray for an abundance of grace to vivify his current "monastic" life of contemplation and hidden service of love: 

"St. Benedict's life was steeped in an atmosphere of prayer, the foundation of his existence. Without prayer there is no experience of God. Yet Benedict's spirituality was not an interiority removed from reality. In the anxiety and confusion of his day, he lived under God's gaze and in this very way never lost sight of the duties of daily life and of man with his practical needs... In contrast with a facile and egocentric self-fulfilment, today often exalted, the first and indispensable commitment of a disciple of St Benedict is the sincere search for God on the path mapped out by the humble and obedient Christ, whose love he must put before all else, and in this way, in the service of the other, he becomes a man of service and peace" (Pope Benedict XVI, feast of St. Benedict, 2008).