Oct 01

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Jul 19

7/20 THE THREE MISSIONS

 

The Three Missions

BOOK OF HEAVEN

VOLUME 17; May 4, 1925
The Mission of the Divine Will shall veil the Most Holy Trinity upon earth, and shall make man return to his Origin.

After writing what is written above, I began to do the Adoration to my Crucified Jesus, Fusing all of myself in His Most Holy Will; and my beloved Jesus came out from within my interior, and placing His Most Holy Face close to mine, all Tenderness, told me: “My daughter, did you write everything on the Mission of My Will?”

And I: “Yes, yes, I wrote everything.”

And He, again: “And what if I told you that you have not written everything? Rather, you have left out the Most Essential Thing. So, continue writing, and add:  The Mission of My Will shall Veil the Most Holy Trinity upon earth. Just as in Heaven there are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Inseparable from One Another but Distinct among Themselves, Forming the Whole Beatitude of Heaven; in the same way, on earth there shall be three persons who, because of their Missions, shall be Distinct and Inseparable among themselves: the Virgin, with Her Maternity that Veils the Paternity of the Celestial Father and Encloses His Power in order to Fulfill Her Mission of Mother of the Eternal Word and Co-Redemptrix of mankind; My Humanity, for the Mission of Redeemer, that Enclosed the Divinity, and the Word, without ever separating from the Father and from the Holy Spirit, Manifested My Celestial Wisdom – adding the Bond of rendering Myself Inseparable from My Mama; and you (Little Daughter of the Divine Will, Luisa Piccarreta), for the Mission of My Will, as the Holy Spirit shall make Display of His Love, Manifesting to you the Secrets, the Prodigies of My Will, the Goods It contains, to make Happy those who shall give themselves to Knowing how much Good this Supreme Will contains, to love It and to let It Reign in their midst, offering their souls to let It Dwell within their hearts, that It may be able to form Its Life in them – adding the Bond of Inseparability between you (Little Daughter of the Divine Will, Luisa Piccarreta), the Mother and the Eternal Word.

“These Three Missions are Distinct and Inseparable. The first two have prepared the Graces, the Light, the Work, and with unheard-of pains, for the Third Mission of My Will, to then Fuse themselves all in It without leaving their Office, so as to find Rest, because My Will alone is Celestial Rest. These Missions shall not be repeated, because the Exuberance of Grace, of Light, of Knowledge is Such and So Great that all human generations can be Filled with them; even more, they shall not be able to contain all the Good that they contain. These Missions are symbolized by the sun; in fact, in creating it, I filled it with so much light and heat, that all human generations have superabundant light. Nor did I consider that, since at the beginning of Creation there were only Adam and Eve who would enjoy it, I could place the necessary light for them only, to then increase new light as the generations would grow. No, no – I made it full of light, just as it is now, and shall be. For the Decorum and the Honor of Our Power, Wisdom and Love, Our Works are always done with the Fullness of All the Good that they contain; nor are they subject to increasing or decreasing. So I did with the sun: I centralized in it all the light that was to serve up to the last man. But how many goods does the sun not do for the earth? What Glory, in its mute light, does it not give to its Creator? I can say that because of the immense goods it does to the earth, in its mute language the sun Glorifies Me and makes Me Known more than all other things together; and this, because it is full in its light, and stable in its course. When I looked at the sun that, with so much light, only Adam and Eve were enjoying, I also looked at all the living; and in seeing that that light was to serve all, My Paternal Goodness Exulted with Joy, and I remained Glorified in My Works. So I did with My Mama: I filled Her with So Much Grace, that She can give Graces to all without ever exhausting even one of them. So I did with My Humanity: there is no Good that It does not Possess; It enclosed Everything, and the very Divinity, to give It to whomever wants of It. So I did with you: I enclosed in you My Will, and, with It, I enclosed Myself. I enclosed in you Its Knowledges, Its Secrets, Its Light. I Filled your soul up to the brim; so much so, that what you write is nothing other than the Outpouring of what you contain of My Will. And even though it now serves you alone, and a few Glimmers of Light serve a few others, I am content because, being Light, More Than Second Sun, it shall make its way by itself, in order to Illuminate the human generations and to bring about the Fulfillment of Our Works: that Our Will be Known and Loved, and that It Reign as Life in the creatures. This was the Purpose of Creation – this, its Beginning, and this shall be the Means and the End.

“Therefore, Be Attentive, because this is about Placing in Safety that Eternal Will that, with so much Love, wants to Dwell in the creatures. But It wants to be Known, It does not want to be like a stranger, but wants to give Its Goods and become Life of each one. However, It wants Its Rights, Its Place of Honor; It wants the human will to be put aside – the only enemy for Itself and for man. The Mission of My Will was the Purpose of the Creation of man. My Divinity did not depart from Heaven – from Its Throne, while My Will not only departed, but descended into all created things and formed Its Life in them. But while all things Recognized Me, and I dwell in them with Majesty and Decorum, man alone drove Me away. But I want to Conquer him and Win him, and therefore My Mission is not ended. So I called you, Entrusting to you My own Mission, that you may place the one who drove Me away on the Lap of My Will, and everything may return to Me in My Will. Therefore, do not be surprised at the Many Great and Marvelous Things I may tell you for the sake of this Mission, or at the Many Graces I may give you; because this is not about making a Saint, or saving the generations. This is about placing a Divine Will in Safety, that all may Return to the Beginning, to the Origin from which all came, and that the Purpose of My Will may have Its Fulfillment.”

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Jul 17

7/18 Feast Day of Santa Maria Greca. Protector of Corato

 

7/18 Feast Day of Santa Maria Greca, Protector of Corato

M_Santa Maria Greca

(Click on Picture above for more information)

Miraculous image of “Santa Maria Greca”  that appeared on July 18, 1656 in Corato, Italy.  Archbishop Mons. Addazi obtained permission from the Holy Office on May 11, 1962 to transfer the mortal remains of Luisa to the Church of Santa Maria Greca with the internment occurring on July 3, 1962.  

7/18 First Appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Catherine Labouré 

in 1830

In the night of 18th July 1830, 1st Appearance of the Virgin Mary, Catherine was woken up by a child ringed in a halo of light. She followed him into the church which was open and lit by countless candles. The child asked her to kneel next to the altar where the Virgin Mary was waiting for her with a message, a mixture of political and religious predictions. 

In this message, she namely predicted the July 1830 revolution in France, the bloody political events of 1870, the death of Archbishop Darboy in 1871 and the ensuing political chaos. The Virgin Mary also announced the formation of 2 religious communities abroad, one in the United States (founded by Elisabeth-Ann Seton) and one in Austria, founded by Léopoldine de Brandis.  (Read more by clicking here)

 

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Jul 15

7/16 Feast of the Brown Scapular 1251

 

7/16 Feast of the Brown Scapular 1251

“And You, Sovereign Queen, hide me under Your mantle.
Keep me defended from everything; never leave me alone,
so that I can complete the Divine Will in everything.”
Book of Heaven; Volume 32; 3/12/33

 Mount Carmel is mentioned in the Bible in 1 Kings 18:16-40. It was there that the prophet Elijah took his stand against the pagan prophets of Baal and Asherah. He revealed to them all the power of Our Lord and God.  During the 12th Century, the Carmelite Order was founded on Mount Carmel.

M_Feast of Brown Scapular

Today being July 16
the Church honors the Blessed Virgin Mary
under the title of
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

We remember her appearance to St. Simon Stock, the superior general of the Carmelites, in Cambridge, England, on Sunday, 16 July, 1251. St. Simon Stock had appealed to Mary through prayer to help the new Carmelite order to overcome oppression. She appeared with the Brown Scapular and said to him:

“Take, beloved son, this scapular of the order as a badge of my confraternity and for you and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant”.

Two great founders of the Religious Orders, St. Alphonsus, of the Redemptorists and St. John Bosco of the Salecians had a very special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and both wore Her Brown Scapular. When they died each was buried in priestly vestments and Scapular. Many years later their graves were opened, the bodies and sacred vestments in which they were buried were decayed-dust! BUT THE BROWN SCAPULAR WHICH EACH WAS WEARING WAS INTACT. The Scapular of St. Alphonsus is on exhibit in his Monastery in Rome.

On day St. Simon Stock was called promptly by Lord Peter of Linton: “Come quickly, Father, my brother is dying in despair!” St. Simon Stock placed his large Scapular over the dying man and prayed that Mary would keep her promise. The man instantly repented of his sins and died in a state of grace.

Blessed Pope Gregory X was buried wearing the Scapular, only 25 years after the vision. When his tomb was opened over 600 years later, the wool scapular remained perfectly intact and had not degraded in the least.

Every single baptized Catholic in the world can be enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular and be able to wear the brown Scapular. If you would like to be enrolled, just ask a priest. The prayer he says to enroll a person is very short.

By the wearing of the Brown Scapular, Mary promises to pray for us at the hour of death. And more than that – intercede with God to obtain the graces we need to remain in the state of grace. And if we are in a state of mortal sin, she will intercede for us that sanctifying grace may come back into our soul before we die. Mary also promises that the Scapular will be “a safeguard in danger.” Those are the two promises by Mary for those that wear the Scapular.

Now, does Mary’s promise (Whoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire) allow us to live a sinful lifestyle and go to Heaven? No! One who wears the scapular must be in the state of grace, live their lives according to their vocation, pray the rosary, and try to live a holy life. This must not be viewed as magical or a superstition.

Once a man that lived a horribly sinful lifestyle that also wore the Brown Scapular. He hated everything holy and thought that just because he wore the Scapular, without a conversion of heart, that he would enter Heaven. Now the time of his death came, and his scapular began to glow red and burn his skin. It became so intense that he had to remove the Scapular. He then died.

Wearing the Scapular must be the outward sign of an individual’s trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius XII said that wearing the Brown Scapular should be an outward sign of one’s consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

***

M_Blessed Mother Luisa

Book of Heaven; 6/6/35 – Vol. 33
The Queen of Heaven goes around through all the nations
in order to place Her children in safety.

                      …  So after this I (Luisa) continued to think about the Divine Will, and I prayed that It would hurry and that with Its Omnipotence that can do everything, It would conquer all the obstacles and would make His Kingdom come and that His Will would Reign on earth as It does in Heaven.  But while I thought this, before my mind, my sweet Jesus made seen so many mournful and horrifying things, before which the hardest hearts are shaken, and the most obstinate knocked down.  Everything was terror and fright.  I remained so afflicted as to feel myself dying, and I prayed that He would spare so many scourges.

                  And my beloved Jesus, as if He would have pity on my affliction, told me:  “My daughter, courage, everything will serve for the Triumph of My Will.  If I strike, it is because I want to heal.  My Love is so much, that when I cannot conquer by way of Love and of Graces, I seek to conquer by way of terror and fright.  The human weakness is so much that many times he does not care about My Graces, he is deaf to My Voice, he laughs at My Love.  But it is enough to touch his skin, to remove the things necessary to natural life, that it abases his haughtiness.  He feels so humiliated that he makes himself a rag, and I do what I want with him.  Especially if they do not have a perfidious and obstinate will, one chastisement is enough—to see himself at the brink of the grave—that he returns to Me into My arms.

                 “You must know that I (Our Lord Jesus Christ) always Love My children, My beloved creatures.  I would eviscerate Myself in order to not see them stricken, so much so that in the mournful times that will come, I have placed them all into the hands of My Celestial Mama.  I have entrusted them to Her, so that She keeps them secure for Me under Her mantle.  I will give to Her all those that She will want, death itself will not have power over those who will be in the custody of My Mama.”

              Now while He said this, my dear Jesus made me see with deeds that the Sovereign Queen descended from Heaven with an indescribable Majesty and a Tenderness all Maternal, and She went around in the midst of creatures in all the nations and She marked Her dear children, and those who must not be touched by the scourges.  Each one my Celestial Mama touched, the scourges had no power to touch those creatures.  Sweet Jesus gave the right to His Mama of placing in safety whomever She pleased.  How moving it was to see the Celestial Empress going around through all the parts of the world, that She took them in Her Maternal Hands, She entrusted them to Her bosom, she hid them under Her Mantle, so that no evil could harm those whom Her Maternal Goodness kept in Her custody, guarded and defended.  O! if everyone could see with how much Love and Tenderness the Celestial Queen did this office, they would cry from consolation, and they would Love She who Loves them so much.

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Jul 13

7/13Father Vincent R. Capodanno, M.M. United States Navy, Chaplain and Vietnam War Hero

 

7/13 Father Vincent R. Capodanno, MM, United States Navy Chaplain and Vietnam War hero

AN EXEMPLARY CHAPLIN – FATHER VINCENT CAPODANNO
50th Anniversary of Father Capodanno’s death is September 4, 1967
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by Maureen Boyle

 

There have been countless brave Catholic chaplains serving the U.S. Armed Forces since the Revolutionary War. One heroic example who is honored every year on the anniversary of his death is Father Vincent R. Capodanno, a Maryknoll priest who was killed in Vietnam on September 4, 1967, as he gave physical and spiritual assistance to the dying Marines of the 1st Marine Division. Father Capodanno posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor and was officially proclaimed a Servant of God by the Catholic Church in 2006, formerly initiating his cause for sainthood.

The annual memorial Mass for Father Capodanno was celebrated September 6, 2011 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and attended by active-duty and retired members of the armed forces, civilians, and many Catholic military chaplains.

In his homily, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio pointed out that among the scores of Navy chaplains, only two have received the Medal of Honor: Jesuit Father Joseph O’Callahan and Father Capodanno.

“They were men who never forgot the specificity of what they brought to others as Catholic priests, and yet still served all who sought their counsel comfort and ministry,” said Archbishop Broglio. “It is that realization that permitted Father Capodanno to defy logic and remain under fire to minister to those entrusted to his pastoral care. He knew that he brought them something no other chaplain could: the healing presence of the risen Lord who entrusted his sacraments, his life, to the Church.”

The archbishop encouraged those in attendance at the Mass to look to Father Capodanno as an example and source of inspiration to all the faithful, especially the Catholic chaplains serving in the armed forces.

“Men and women like Father Capodanno, afire with the love of Christ, challenge us to live the Gospel and to teach all people to live as brothers and sisters. The quest for peace still stirs our hearts,” he said.

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Jul 10

7/11 Feast Day of St. Benedict, Abbot

 

7/11 Feast Day of St. Benedict, Abbot

Blessed Wishes on the Feast Day of St. Benedict to


The Benedictine Daughters of the Divine Will!

***

SAINT BENEDICT
FOUNDER OF WESTERN MONASTICISM
—480-550 A.D.

Overrun by half-civilized pagan and Arian hordes during the fifth century, Italy and the entire Mediterranean world was falling back into barbarism. The Church was torn by conflict, city and country alike were made desolate by war and pillage, violence was rampant among Christians as well as heathen. During this anarchic time appeared one of the noblest of the Fathers of the Western Church—St. Benedict of Nursia, founder of the great order which bears his name. We know little of his background, save that he was born about the year 480 at Nursia, in the province of Umbria, in north central Italy, and that his family was probably of noble lineage. We also know that he had a sister called Scholastica, who from childhood vowed herself to God.
Sent to Rome to be educated, young Benedict was quickly revolted by the licentiousness of his fellow students. He was not yet twenty when he decided to go away from Rome to live in some remote spot. No one knew of his plan except an aged family servant, who loyally insisted on accompanying him to serve his wants. Benedict and this old woman made their way to a village called Enfide, in the Sabine Mountains, some thirty miles from Rome. In the, St. Gregory gives us a series of remarkable incidents associated with Benedict’s life, one of them occurring at this time. While staying in the village, Benedict miraculously mended an earthen sieve which his servant had broken. Wishing to escape the notice and the talk which this brought upon him, he soon started out alone in search of complete solitude. Up among the hills he found a place known as Subiaco or Sublacum (beneath the lake), so named from an artificial lake created there some five centuries earlier. It was near the ruins of one of Nero’s palaces. He made the acquaintance of a monk called Romanus, and to him Benedict revealed his desire to become a hermit. Romanus, who lived in a monastery not far away, gave the young man a monastic habit made of skins and led him up to an isolated cave, where he might live completely undisturbed. The roof of the cave was an overhanging rock over which descent was impossible, and it was approached from below with difficulty In this desolate cavern Benedict passed the next three years, unknown to all but his friend Romanus, who each day saved for him a part of his own portion of bread and let it down from above in a basket by a rope.

According to Pope Gregory, the first outsider to find his way to the cave was a priest, who while preparing a special dinner for himself on Easter Sunday heard a voice saying to him: “Thou art preparing thyself a savoury dish while my servant Benedict is afflicted with hunger.” The priest immediately set out in search of Benedict, and finally discovered his hiding place. Benedict was astonished, but before he would enter into conversation with his visitor he asked that they might pray together. Then, after they had talked for a time on heavenly things, the priest invited Benedict to eat, telling him that it was Easter Day, on which it is not reasonable to fast. Later Benedict was seen by some shepherds, who at first glance took him for a wild animal because he was clothed in the skins of beasts. It did not occur to them that a human being could live among the barren rocks. From that time on, others made their way up the steep cliff, bringing such small offerings of food as the holy man would accept and receiving from him instruction and advice.

Even though he lived thus sequestered from the world, Benedict, like the Desert Fathers, had to struggle with temptations of the flesh and the devil. One of these struggles is described by Gregory. “On a certain day when he was alone the tempter presented himself. A small dark bird, commonly called a blackbird, began to fly around his face and came so near him that, if he had wished, he could have seized it with his hand. But on his making the sign of the cross, the bird flew away. Then followed a violent temptation of the flesh, such as he had never before experienced. The evil spirit brought before his imagination a woman whom he had formerly seen, and inflamed his heart with such vehement desire at the memory of her that he had very great difficulty in repressing it. He was almost overcome and thought of leaving his solitude. Suddenly, however, with the help of divine grace, he found the strength he needed. Seeing near at hand a thick growth of briars and nettles, he stripped off his habit and cast himself into the midst of them and plunged and tossed about until his whole body was lacerated. Thus, through those bodily wounds, he cured the wounds of his soul.” Never again was he troubled in the same way.

Between Tivoli and Subiaco, at Vicovaro, on the summit of a fortified rock overlooking the Anio, there lived at that time a community of monks. Having lost their abbot by death, they now came in a body to ask Benedict to accept the office, no doubt with the idea that his growing fame would attract offerings to their community. He at first refused, assuring the monks that their ways and his would not agree. At length they persuaded him to return with them. It soon became evident that the severe monastic discipline he instituted did not suit their lax habits, and in order to get rid of him they finally poisoned his wine. When, as was his habit, he made the sign of the cross over the cup, it broke as if a stone had fallen on it. “God forgive you, brothers,” Benedict said serenely. “Why have you plotted this wicked thing against me? Did I not tell you beforehand that my ways would not accord with yours? Go and find an abbot to your taste, for after what you have done you can no longer keep me with you.” Then he bade them farewell and returned to Subiaco.

Disciples now began to gather around Benedict, attracted by his sanctity and by his miraculous powers. At last he found himself in a position to initiate the great work for which God had been preparing him. This was the idea that had slowly been germinating during his years of isolation: to bring together those who wished to share the monastic life, both men of the world who yearned to escape material concerns and the monks who had been living in solitude or in widely scattered communities, to make of them one flock, binding them by fraternal bonds, under one observance, in the permanent worship of God. In short, his scheme was for the establishment in the West of a single great religious order which would end the capricious rule of the various superiors and the vagaries of individual anchorites. Those who agreed to obey Benedict in this enterprise, he settled in twelve monasteries of twelve monks each. Although each monastery had its own prior, Benedict himself exercised general control over all of them from the monastery of St. Clement.

They had no written rule, although they may at first have been guided by the Eastern Rule of St. Basil. According to one old record, they simply followed the example of Benedict’s deeds. Romans and barbarians, rich and poor, came to place themselves under a monk who made no distinction of rank or nation. Parents brought their young sons, for, in the prevailing chaos, the safest and happiest way of life seemed to be that of the monk. Gregory tells us of two noble Romans, Tertullus, a patrician, and Equitius, who came with their small sons, Placidus, a child of seven, and Maurus, a lad of twelve. They were the forerunners of the great hosts of boys, in succeeding centuries, who were to be educated in Benedictine schools. On these two aristocratic young Romans, especially on Maurus, who afterwards became his coadjutor, Benedict expended his utmost care.

Gregory tells also of a rough untutored Goth who came to Benedict, was gladly received, and clothed in the monastic habit. As he was working one day with a hedgehook to clear the underbrush from a sloping piece of ground above the lake, the head of the hook flew off and disappeared into the water. When Benedict heard of the accident, he led the man to the water’s edge, took from him the shaft, and dipped it into the lake. Immediately from the bottom rose the iron head and fastened itself in the shaft, whereat Benedict returned it to the astonished Goth, saying in a kindly voice, “Take your tool; work and be comforted.” One of Benedict’s greatest accomplishments was to break down in his monasteries the ancient prejudice against manual work as something in itself degrading and servile. The Romans had for centuries made slaves of conquered peoples, who performed their menial tasks. Now times were changing. Benedict introduced the novel idea that labor was not only dignified and honorable but conducive to sanctity; it was therefore made compulsory for all who joined the order, nobles and plebeians alike. “He who works prays,” became the maxim which expressed the Benedictine attitude.

We do not know how long Benedict remained in the neighborhood of Subiaco, but he stayed long enough certainly to establish his monasteries there on a firm and permanent basis. His departure seems to have been unpremeditated. There was living in the neighborhood an unworthy priest called Florentius, who was bitterly envious of the success of Benedict’s organization and of the great concourse of people who were flocking to him. Florentius tried to ruin him by slander; then he sent him a poisoned loaf, which failed of its purpose. Finally he set out to corrupt Benedict’s monks by introducing into their garden women of evil life. Benedict realized Florentius’ malicious schemes were directed at him personally and he resolved to leave Subiaco, lest the souls of his spiritual sons should be further assailed. Having set all things in order, he summoned the monks, or their representatives, from the twelve monasteries, bade them farewell, and withdrew with a few disciples from Subiaco to the more southerly territory of Monte Cassino, a conspicuous elevation where land had been offered him by Placidus’ father, the patrician Tertullus.

The town of Cassino, formerly an important place, had been destroyed by the Goths, and the remnant of its inhabitants, left without a priest, were relapsing into paganism; the once-fertile land had fallen out of cultivation. From time to time the inhabitants would climb up through the woods to offer sacrifices in an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo, which stood on the crest of Monte Cassino. Benedict’s first work, after a preliminary forty-day fast, was to preach to the people and win them back to the faith. With the help of these converts, he proceeded to overthrow the pagan temple and cut down the sacred grove. He built two oratories or chapels on the site; one he dedicated to St. John the Baptist and the other to St. Martin. Round about these sanctuaries new buildings were erected and older ones remodeled, until there rose, little by little, the tremendous pile which was to become the most famous abbey the world has known. The foundation was laid by Benedict probably about the year 520.

Profiting no doubt by his earlier experience, Benedict did not distribute his monks in separate houses, but gathered them together in one great establishment, ruled over by a prior and deans under his own direction. Almost immediately it became necessary to build guest chambers, for Monte Cassino[1] was easily accessible from Rome, Capua, and other points. Among the early visitors were Placidus’ father, who came to confirm his donation, and Maurus’ father, who bestowed more lands and churches on Benedict. Another generous benefactor was Gregory’s father, Gordianus, who in the name of his wife Sylvia gave Benedict the Villa Euchelia in the suburbs of Aquinum, not far away, and other valuable property. Not only laymen but dignitaries of the Church, bishops and abbots, came to consult with the founder, whose reputation for sanctity, wisdom, and miracles was spreading.

It was probably during this period that Benedict composed his famous Rule.[2] Gregory says that in it may be perceived “all his own manner of life and discipline, for the holy man could not possibly teach otherwise than as he lived.” Although the Rule professes only to lay down a pattern of life for the monks at Monte Cassino, it served as a guide for the monks of the whole Western Empire. It is addressed to all who, renouncing their own will, take upon them “the strong and bright armor of obedience, to fight under our Lord Christ, our true king.” It prescribes a diversified routine of liturgical prayer, study, and physical work, in a community under one father. It was written for laymen by one who was not a priest; only after some five hundred years were clerical orders required of Benedictines. Its asceticism was intended to be reasonable; the monks abstained from flesh meat and did not break fast until mid-day. Self-imposed and abnormal austerities damaging to health were not encouraged. When a hermit who lived in a cave near Monte Cassino chained his foot to a rock, Benedict, to whom he looked for direction, sent him the message, “If thou art truly a servant of God, chain thyself not with a chain of iron but with a chain of Christ.”

Far from confining his attention to those who accepted his Rule, Benedict extended his solicitude to the people of the countryside. He cured the sick, relieved the distressed, distributed alms and food to the poor, and is said on more than one occasion to have raised the dead. When Campania suffered from a famine, he gave away all the provisions stored in the abbey, with the exception of five loaves. “You have not enough today,” he said to his monks, noticing their dismay, “but tomorrow you will have too much.” Benedict’s faith had its reward. The next morning a large donation of flour was deposited by unknown hands at the monastery gate. Other stories were told of prophetic powers and of an ability to read men’s thoughts. A nobleman he had converted once found him in tears and inquired the cause of his grief. Benedict astounded him by replying that the monastery and everything in it would be delivered to the pagans, and the monks would barely escape with their lives. This prophecy came true some forty years later, when the abbey was wrecked by a new wave of invaders, the pagan Lombards.

Meanwhile, Totila, King of the Goths, had defeated the Emperor Justinian’s army at Faenza and in 542 was making a triumphal progress through central Italy towards Naples. On the way he wished to visit Benedict, of whom he had heard marvelous tales. He therefore sent word of his coming to the famous abbot, who replied that he would see him. To discover whether Benedict really possessed the supernatural insight attributed to him, Totila ordered Riggo, captain of the guard, to don his own purple robes, and sent him, with the three counts who usually attended him, up to Monte Cassino. The trick did not deceive Benedict, who greeted Riggo with the words, “My son, take off what thou art wearing; it is not thine.” Confounded, Riggo threw himself at Benedict’s feet and then withdrew in haste to report to his master.

Totila now came himself to the abbey and, we are told, was so awed by Benedict that he fell prostrate. Benedict, raising him from the ground, rebuked him sternly for his cruelties and foretold in a few words all that should befall him. “Much evil,” he said, “dost thou do and much wickedness hast thou done. Now, at least, make an end of iniquity. Rome thou shalt enter; thou wilt cross the sea; nine years thou shalt reign, and die the tenth.” Totila begged for his prayers and departed, and from that time on, people said, was less cruel. In course of time he advanced on Rome, sailed thence to Sicily, and in the tenth year, lost both his crown and his life.[3] Benedict did not live long enough to see the prophecy fulfilled.

He who had foretold so many things was forewarned of his own death, and six days before the end bade his disciples dig a grave. As soon as this was done, Benedict was stricken with a fever, and on the sixth day, while the brethren supported him, he murmured a few words of prayer and died, standing, with hands uplifted towards Heaven. He was buried beside his sister Scholastica,[4] on the site of the altar of Apollo which he had thrown down. In art Benedict is commonly represented with King Totila, or with his finger on his lips, holding the Rule, or with the opening words, “,” (“Hearken, O son”) proceeding from his mouth. His symbols are reminders of various incidents in his life: we see him with a blackbird, a broken sieve, a rose bush, a scourge, a dove, a globe of fire, or a luminous stairway up which he is proceeding to Heaven; occasionally he is depicted with King Totila at his feet. The order which Benedict founded has spread over the earth. It was mainly responsible for the conversion of the Teutonic races, and has left its mark on the education, art, and literature of Europe. Within its cloisters, always marked by an atmosphere of industry and peace, were copied and recopied the great writings of the past, to be cherished and passed on to succeeding generations.

1. . .service, in the organization of which we trust that we shall ordain nothing severe and nothing burdensome. Yet if, prompted by a desire to attain to righteousness, we prescribe something a little irksome for the correction of vice or the preservation of charity, do you not, therefore, in terror flee from the way of salvation, the entrance to which must needs be narrow. For by continuing in this mode of life and faith the heart is enlarged and in the unutterable sweetness of love, we run in the way of God’s commandments. Thus never straying from His guidance but persevering in the monastery unto death in His teachings, through patience we become partakers of Christ’s passion and worthy heirs of His kingdom. Amen….

2.. An abbot who is worthy to preside over a monastery should always remember what he is called and justify by his deeds his title as a superior. For in the monastery he is looked upon as the representative of Christ, since he is called by His name, and the Apostle says: “Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father.”[5] So an abbot ought not to teach, institute, or command anything contrary to the precepts of the Lord, but his orders and teachings should be sprinkled in the minds of his disciples with the leaven of divine justice…. He must show no favoritism in the monastery, nor love one more than another, unless it be one whom he finds excelling in good works and obedience. He must not place a man of gentle birth above one lately a serf, except for some other reasonable cause . . . for whether bond or free, we are all one in Christ….

48.. Idleness is the enemy of the soul. At set times, accordingly, the brethren should be occupied with manual work, and again, at set times, with spiritual reading. We believe therefore that the hours for each should be fixed as follows: that is, from Easter to the first of October they should go out early in the morning from Prime[6] and work at what has to be done until about the fourth hour, and from the fourth hour spend their time in reading until about the sixth hour. When they rise from eating, after the sixth hour, they should rest on their beds in complete silence, or if one happens to wish to read let him do so without disturbing anyone else. Let Nones be said in good time, about the middle of the eighth hour; and then let them work again at whatever needs to be done until vespers. And let them not be disturbed if poverty or the necessities of the place compel them to toil at harvesting the crops with their own hands, as did our fathers and the Apostles…. In Lent they shall each receive a book from the library and read it entirely through. These books shall be given out at the beginning of Lent. Above all, have one or two seniors appointed to go around the monastery during the hours for reading to see that no restless brother is by chance idle or chattering and not intent on his reading and so of no profit to himself and a distraction to others…. However, if there is anyone so dull or lazy that he either will not or cannot study or read, let him have some task assigned him which he can perform, so that he may not be idle….

64.. Let him who has been created abbot reflect always on the weighty burden he has assumed and remember to whom he shall give an account of his stewardship. Let him understand too that he is to help others rather than command them…. He must hate vice but love the brethren. Even in his corrections he should act wisely lest while he too vigorously scrubs off the rust the vessel itself is shattered. He shall always bear in mind his own frailty and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken…. And he shall aim at being loved rather than feared…. Wherefore, adopting these and like principles of discretion, mother of virtues, let him so temper all things that the strong man may find scope for action and the weak be not intimidated. And especially let him keep the present Rule in all respects, so that when he has well administered it, he may hear from our Lord what that good servant did who gave meat to his fellow servants in due season.[7] “Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.”

Notes:

1 The monastery of Monte Cassino was destroyed by the Lombards about seventy years later. It was rebuilt and again destroyed, this time by the Saracens in 884; after its second restoration, it enjoyed a period of tranquillity, and in the eleventh century attained its greatest influence. It suffered severely from aerial bombardment during the Allied advance northwards in World War II, but the rebuilding of damaged portions has already begun.

2 “A monument of legislative art, remarkable alike for its completeness, its Simplicitys and its adaptability,” wrote H. F. Dudden. The French historian Michelet said that it “gave to a world worn out by slavery the first example of work done by the hands of free men.”

3 Totila was killed in the battle of Tagina, fighting against the forces of the Emperor Justinian under Narses. With his death all hope of the Goths for a kingdom in Italy ended. For more background on this period, see, below.

4 St. Scholastica was abbess of a nunnery about five miles south of Monte Cassino. Once a year she visited her brother and they spent the day in song and prayer and conversation. On the day of her death it is said that Benedict, at prayer in his cell, had a vision of his sister’s soul ascending to Heaven. Filled with joy at her happiness, he thanked God, and then went out to announce her passing to his brethren.

5 Roman viii, 15(Father) was used by the early Jews as a title of honor, and by Jesus and his contemporaries of the Deity.

6 Historians differ as to the exact length of the periods of work, rest, and reading, but the office of Prime was said probably between five and six in the morning, and the first hour would be about six, the sixth about noon. In the winter months work did not begin until about an hour later in the morning.

7 See Matthew XXIV, 45-47.

Saint Benedict, Abbot, Founder of Western Monasticism. Celebration of Feast Day is March 21. Taken from “Lives of Saints”, Published by John J. Crawley & Co., Inc.

The medal of Saint Benedict is one of the sacramentals of the Church. The value and power of the medal must be ascribed to the merits of Christ Crucified, to the efficacious prayers of St. Benedict, to the blessing of the Church, and especially to the faith and holy disposition of the person using the medal.

The front of the medal shows St. Benedict holding a cross in one hand and the book of his Rule in the other. Flanking him on either side are the words: Crux S. Patris Benedicti (The Cross of the Holy Father Benedict). Below his feet are these words: Ex S M Casino MDCCCLXXX (From the Holy Mount of Cassino, 1880). On that date, Monte Cassino was given the exclusive right to produce this medal.

Inscribed in the circle surrounding Benedict are the words: Ejus in obitu nostro presentia muniamur (May his presence protect us in the hour of death).

The other side of the medal is where the real exorcistic force reveals itself. In the center is the Cross. Benedict loved the Cross and used it to drive away demons.

The vertical beam of the Cross has five letters: C.S.S.M.L., meaning Crux Sacra Sit Mihi Lux (May the holy Cross be for me a light). The horizontal beam of the Cross also has five letters: N.D.S.M.D., meaning Non Draco Sit Mihi Dux (Let not the dragon be my guide).

The four large letters at the angles of the Cross: C.S.P.B. stand for Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (The Cross of the Holy Father Benedict).

Encircling the Cross in a circle around the right margin are these letters V.R.S.N.S.M.V., meaning Vade retro Satana; nunquam suade mihi vana (Begone Satan! Suggest not to me thy vain things).

Around the left margin of the circle are these letters: S.M.Q.L.I.V.B., meaning Sunt mala quae libas; ipse venena bibas (The drink you offer is evil; drink that poison yourself). At the top of the circle is the word PAX (Peace).

No special way of carrying or applying the medal is prescribed. It may be worn around the neck, attached to the Scapular or the Rosary, or simply carried in one’s pocket.

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