Monks down through the ages have called Saint Benedict their father: Holy Father Benedict. There is in this custom a sweetness and comfort that comes from affirming, beyond any doubt, that we are children of Benedict, the vir Dei, the man of God. We are related to Saint Benedict as to a father who acknowledges us as sons and desires, more than anything else, that we should follow Christ “to glory” (RB Pro:7). Saint Benedict’s fatherhood over us is a gift of the Holy Ghost, a gift not only for a limited space, a single lifetime, and a small number of disciples, but one that, in the Communion of the Saints, is for all places, all times, and all the men and women called, in one way or another, to follow the Holy Rule. Such relationships are entirely possible in the Mystical Body of Christ. The saints, all the saints, are close to us, attentive to our needs, full of compassion for our weaknesses, and ever ready to help us.
Saint Benedict enjoins his monks to “love their Abbot with sincere and