Today is the feast of our holy father among the saints Benedict. St. Benedict is the father of western monasticism. His Rule, written about 1,500 years ago is still used by Benedictine men and women today in their monasteries.
St. Benedict is particularly meaningful to me, as the seminary I attended was run by the Benedictine monks of St. Meinrad, in southern Indiana. Learn more about St. Meinrad Archabbey here.
(photo shows the Basilica of St. Benedict in Nurcia, Italy – note the statue of San Benedetto in the foreground)
The Rule of St. Benedict outlines the manner of life in a monastery, including details about how to pray, eat, keep silence, work, welcome guests, admonish wayward members and embodies the Benedictine motto ora et labora which translates “pray and work.”
The job of a monk is to pray. Pray for the world. Pray to God. Pray for all the needs of the Church. Pray for those in need. To take literally St. Paul’s exhortation to “pray without ceasing.” That is the job of the monk.
It is my belief that the world continues to function simply from the prayer of holy monks and nuns. Without their prayers, our world would be drastically different than it is now. The gift of one’s life spent in prayer for the world is the highest gift a person can give. By dying to self (control over their lives) these holy brothers and sisters can then devote their very lives to the service of God, in each and every thing they do throughout the day.
Working in the kitchen of the monastery, cultivating grapes, praying the Divine Office, creating vestments, writing icons or tending to animals. Whatever activities occur during the day, they are done for the sake of the kingdom, everything is done for God.
Thanks to you, holy brothers and sisters of St. Benedict – your very being glorifies God and your humble work edifies the world. Blessed are your hands that do the work of our Lord Jesus Christ in your everyday tasks.