Friday, June 19, 2009


“St Romuald “
by Guercino, 1640-41


Biographical Information about St. Romuald [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St Romuald

Readings and Commentary:

Philippians 3:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
I consider everything as a loss
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things
and I consider them so much rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having any righteousness of my own based on the law
but that which comes through faith in Christ,
the righteousness from God,
depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection
and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death,
if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It is not that I have already taken hold of it
or have already attained perfect maturity,
but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it,
since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part
do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
the prize of God's upward calling, in Christ Jesus.
Commentary on
Phil 3:8-14

St. Paul speaks to the community at Philippi about the primacy of following Christ as the (his) most important possession. He inverts the phrase saying Christ has taken possession of him which should not be interpreted as meaning he believed he had attained perfect spiritual maturity but rather that he (Paul) had given himself totally to the service of Jesus.

CCC: Phil 3:8-11 428; Phil 3:8 133; Phil 3:10-11 989, 1006; Phil 3:10 648
Psalm 131.1bcde, 2, 3

R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother's lap,
so is my soul within me.
R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

O Israel, hope in the LORD,
both now and forever.
R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
Commentary on
Ps 131.1bcde, 2, 3

Psalm 131 is an individual lament praying for harmony and humility among the members of the community. The singer proclaims trust in the Lord and peace, like children's contented peace, secure in the knowledge of the love and protection of their parents.

CCC: Ps 131:2 239; Ps 131:2-3 370
Luke 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,
and he turned and addressed them,
"If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters,
and even his own life,
he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me
cannot be my disciple.
Which of you wishing to construct a tower
does not first sit down and calculate the cost
to see if there is enough for its completion?
Otherwise, after laying the foundation
and finding himself unable to finish the work
the onlookers should laugh at him and say,
`This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.'
Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down
and decide whether with ten thousand troops
he can successfully oppose another king
advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops?
But if not, while he is still far away,
he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
In the same way,
everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple."
Commentary on Lk 14:25-33

The Lord, perhaps in an action intended to identify those who had the zeal to be true disciples, tells the crowd of the necessity of total dedication to the call to discipleship. They had seen his recent miracles of healing, and were, no doubt, hoping to learn wisdom from him.
He tells them that they must place their love of God first, before family and even their own lives. He tells them, through two examples – the construction of the tower and the evaluation of the battle – that they must measure the sacrifice needed to be his follower. He punctuates his statement by telling them they must “renounce” all their possessions to follow him.
CCC: Lk 14:26 1618; Lk 14:33 2544

How many of the Lord’s would-be disciples fled in the face of his pronouncement “…every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple"? St. Luke recalls that the Lord demanded his disciples place God first in their lives, before family, before worldly comforts and possessions.

In the very early Church these ascetic principles were the driving force of the communal life styles that hallmarked the early Christian society. The ideal of renouncing wealth and fortune in favor of the poor was the mark of one who embraced Christ’s teachings and followed his own example. Over the years, as the Church grew in size, influence and wealth, members of the Church hierarchy fell victim to power over such wealth and became greedy, refuting the commandment of Christ who tells us we may only serve one master (“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.Matthew 6:24)

Into this time of privilege came a privileged youth, Romuald Onesti (St. Romuald 950-1027). Born into nobility it is said that in his early years he participated in the generally sinful lifestyle of the nobility of that period. However, the Lord had his heart, though he may not have known it. When he witnessed his father kill a man in a duel, he was so distraught he sought forgiveness in his faith, eventually taking the habit of St. Benedict.

He understood the message from St. Luke’s Gospel completely and worked tirelessly to encourage others to adopt asceticism, giving up secular wealth for the treasure of faith. Just as the celibate lifestyle of the priesthood is the archetype of chastity and an example to us of living a chaste lifestyle, so the ascetic life of those who embrace asceticism provide us an example of prioritizing our lives; serving our spiritual master, not mammon.

We recall St. Romuald’s example of devotion to God and his heroic virtue as he lead others to embrace the Lord in religious orders. We thank him for his example and ask for his intercession as we walk the pilgrim way of Christ.


[1] The picture is “St Romuald “ by Guercino, 1640-41
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

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