Feast of St Benedict

Today we celebrate the memorial of St Benedict, who was born in 480 in Nursia in Italy and died in 547. After our Gospel from Matthew (10:24-33) we will learn a little bit more about St Benedict and his life.

In his life Benedict studied in Rome and then because he, basically, could not cope with city living he became a hermit. His reputation spread and after a while, other monks made him Abbot. Ultimately, they did not like his discipline so they tried to poison him.

Benedict is famous for writing a set of rules for community life in monasteries. This Rule was, and still is, regarded as very wise and very balanced. Many religious orders and lay groups have the Rule of Benedict as their foundation. A feature of one of the rules is that people aim for perfection but often, as we know, fall well short of it. When you encounter a community that is trying to live by the Rule of St Benedict you will more than likely encounter a group of people who are more than anything simply trying to be themselves.

Returning to our Gospel, which is the final part of the second discourse (or collection of the sayings of Jesus). Fr Paul says this Gospel deals with having confidence in divine protection when we are in the face of hostility and persecution. He says we only have to look at Jesus who was fearless in proclaiming his message.

Today, Fr Paul invites us to reflect on the life of Benedict and, as we come to the end of this second set of Jesus’s sayings about divine protection, be aware that divine protection is part of our lives and to place ourselves under that protection as our day continues.