13 November, All Benedictine Saints

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Today we celebrated the feast of All Saints Who Militated Under the Rule of Saint Benedict. One might also translate the name of the feast as "All Saints Who Soldiered Under the Rule of Saint Benedict." It's enough to make a Jesuit envious!

I thought that Spinello Aretino's depiction of Saint Benedict exorcising a demon might be appropriate for today's feast. Saint Gregory the Great recounts the whole story in his life of Saint Benedict. The painting, however, tells more than the story. The monks are engaged in a building project. The undertaking comes to a halt when a "heavy devil" decides to sit on a stone. No one can lift the stone. This happens not infrequently in community life.

Saint Peter reminds us that we are all "living stones" destined by God to be "built into a spiritual house" (1 P 2:5). Sometimes one "living stone" becomes heavy to the point of being immovable. Then the upbuilding of the community stops and the "immovable stone" becomes the focus of much frustration and unhappiness.

What can be done when a "heavy devil" fastened itself to a brother or sister in order to impede the building of the community? Prayer and fasting, and recourse to the power of the Cross and the intercession of Saint Benedict are efficacious means by which the devil can be detached from the poor soul on whom he crouches. Once rid of the "heavy devil," the building up of community can resume.


Let us all rejoice in the Lord,
celebrating a festival in honour of all the saints
who did battle under the Rule of Saint Benedict,
at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice
and all together praise the Son of God.


Almighty and ever–faithful God,
who ceaselessly bestow the gift of monastic life upon your Church,
grant us, we beseech you, perseverance in that same vocation
that we may advance full of gratitude
for those who have gone before us on this path,
holding nothing more dear than Christ.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.


That the holy Church of Christ on every continent
may be blessed in our own day
with true seekers of God and lovers of Christ,
courageous in spiritual combat under the Rule of Saint Benedict,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI
may experience the protection and intercession
of Saint Benedict on whom he relies for help
in his service of the universal Church,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That the leaders of nations and all public servants
may be given a share
in the wisdom and discretion of the holy abbot Benedict,
and that, like him, they may be makers of peace,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That all who are afflicted in body, mind, or spirit,
may share in the sufferings of Christ through patience,
and so deserve also to share in his kingdom,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That our sisters and brothers throughout the world,
nuns, monks, and oblates living under the Rule of Saint Benedict,
may persevere in seeking the face of God,
and praise him day and night,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

That, following the teaching of our holy father Saint Benedict,
we may harmonize our minds with our voices,
and stand with holy awe
in the sight of the Divine Majesty and his Angels,
to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us. R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.


Lord Jesus,
who have promised to those who leave all things for your sake
a hundred-fold reward in this life,
and eternal life in the heavenly Jerusalem,
through the intercession of Saint Benedict
and of the holy monks and nuns who have walked in his footsteps,
purify our hearts of all that narrows and shrinks them,
that they may open wide to the fullness of your love.
Through Christ our Lord.


The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and the torment of malice shall not touch them:
in the sight of the unwise they seemed to die,
but they are in peace. Alleluia (Wis 3:1–2, 3).


Look graciously, Lord, upon the holy gifts we present
on this feast of all Benedictine saints,
and grant that, according to their example
we may persevere in seeking you,
and find in your service the gifts of unity and of peace.
Through Christ our Lord.


Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

You raised up the holy abbot Benedict,
as a teacher of the steps of humility
by which a countless number of his sons and daughters
have reached the love which drives out all fear.

Preferring nothing to the love of Christ,
they recognized Christ in the sick and in the stranger,
in the poor and in the pilgrim.

Praising you seven times by day, and even in the night,
they placed all their hope in you,
and taught us never to despair of your mercy.

Even today, their lives distill a holy wisdom,
inflame us with longing for life everlasting,
and inspire us to sing your praise
in the joy of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, in the sight of the angels,
with heart and mind in harmony with our voices,
we exalt your glory forever,
as we ceaselessly proclaim:


With such a cloud of witnesses around us,
let us steadfastly run the race that lies before us,
our eyes fixed on Jesus
who inspires and perfects our faith (Heb 12:1–2).


Merciful God,
who gave such grace to all Benedictine saints,
that they served you with singleness of heart,
preferring nothing whatsoever to the love of Christ;
help us, whom you have refreshed by these holy mysteries,
to forsake all that holds us back from following Christ
and to grow, in his likeness, from glory to glory.
Through the same Christ our Lord.


God Bless you Father Dom

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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