Our venerable father Benedict was born in the Italian province of Nursia in the year 480, to wealthy and distinguished parents. He did not remain long in school for he realized himself that through book-learning he could lose “the great understanding of his souls.” He left school “an unlearned wise man and an understanding fool.” He retreated to a monastery, where he was tonsured by the monk Romanus, after which he withdrew to a steep mountain where he remained in a cave for more than three years in a great struggle with his soul. He gathered many disciples around himself, and then went to Monte Casino. There he founded his celebrated monastery and composed his “Rule for Monks.” This rule spread so widely that he has deserved to be called patriarch of monks in the West. It is said that he died on the twenty-first day of March in 550.
The divine image was clearly preserved in you, O father; you took up your cross and followed Christ, teaching us by your life not to favor the passing flesh but attend to our immortal souls. O venerable Benedict, your soul now rejoices with the angels.
You were enriched by God’s grace and sealed your calling with works. Pleasing to Christ God in prayer and fasting, you have shown yourself filled by the Spirit’s gifts, O Benedict, champion against the enemies, healer of the sick, and swift help for our souls.
God said to Noah and to his sons with him: See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you: the birds, the tame animals, and all the wild animals that were with you–all that came out of the ark. I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastated the earth. God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and every living creature–every mortal being– so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being. When the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature–every mortal being that is on earth. God told Noah: This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and every mortal being that is on earth.
For their good sense people are praised, but the perverse of heart are despised.
Better to be slighted and have a servant than put on airs and lack bread.
The just take care of their livestock, but the compassion of the wicked is cruel.
Those who till their own land have food in plenty, but those who engage in idle pursuits lack sense.
A wicked person desires the catch of evil people, but the root of the righteous will bear fruit.
By the sin of their lips the wicked are ensnared, but the just escape from a tight spot.
From the fruit of their mouths people have their fill of good, and the works of their hands come back upon them.
The way of fools is right in their own eyes, but those who listen to advice are the wise.
Fools immediately show their anger, but the shrewd conceal contempt.
Whoever speaks honestly testifies truly, but the deceitful make lying witnesses.
The babble of some people is like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise is healing.
Truthful lips endure forever, the lying tongue, for only a moment.
Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who counsel peace have joy.
No harm befalls the just, but the wicked are overwhelmed with misfortune.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who are truthful, his delight.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Monday, March 13 –