July 11, 2010
Today, 11 July, is the Liturgical Memorial of Saint Benedict, the Father of Western Monasticism and the founder of the Order which bears his name.
Venerable Pope Pius XII, declared him to be Patron of Europe because of his valuable contribution to the patrimony of the Church and Western Civilization.
But today I would like to speak of something else that Saint Benedict has given to all of us which is so very important especially in our time.
When writing his famous Rule, Benedict insisted on a balance between physical activity and work on the one hand and prayer, reflection and silence on the other. Is it not true that in our time, many of us are caught up in a cycle of activity, work and a frantic effort to be always “doing something?”
Many of our contemporaries are engaged in a common form of escapism: refusing to lessen the speed of life; taking on more than they can possibly accomplish and ending in a state of frustration and exhaustion.
They do all of these things because they have a fear of that which prayer and silence might achieve; what might be accomplished if they chose to pray and to find the time for silence and reflection.
The result would be a balance, an equilibrium which Saint Benedict and his monks achieved because they were willing to admit that man, in order to be truly happy and at peace, must, on a regular basis, speak with God and be silent so that he will be able to hear when God speaks to him.
May we, you and I, have the courage to live the motto of Saint Benedict: Ora et Labora: prayer and Work, in a steady, calm and peaceful way.