Saturday, July 11, 2009


“Saint Benedict” by Fra Angelico,1387


Biographical Information about St. Benedict[1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Benedict

Readings and Commentary:

Proverbs 2:1-9

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure my commands,
Turning your ear to wisdom,
inclining your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you call to intelligence,
and to understanding raise your voice;
If you seek her like silver,
and like hidden treasures search her out:

Then will you understand the fear of the LORD;
the knowledge of God you will find;
For the LORD gives wisdom,
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He has counsel in store for the upright,
he is the shield of those who walk honestly,
Guarding the paths of justice,
protecting the way of his pious ones.

Then you will understand rectitude and justice,
honesty, every good path.
Commentary on
Prv 2:1-9

This list of wisdom saying is part of the first collection of sayings of Solomon. These verses are a loose collection of sayings that support various elements of the Law of Moses. The underlying theme is that God’s will is expressed by the faithful through the Holy Spirit operating within them and that the development of this spirit of holiness is more desirable than material wealth.

Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7,8-9, 10-11

R. (2) 1 will bless the Lord at all times.
(9) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear and be glad.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD,
and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Fear the LORD, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.
R. I will bless the Lord at all times.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Commentary on
Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7,8-9, 10-11

Psalm 34 is a song of thanksgiving and a favorite for celebrating the heroic virtue of the saints. The psalmist, fresh from the experience of being rescued (Psalm 34:5, 7), can teach the "poor," those who are defenseless, to trust in God alone. This psalm, in the words of one being unjustly persecuted, echoes hope for deliverance and freedom. The promise of salvation for those who follow the Lord gives hope to the poor and downtrodden.

CCC: Ps 34:3 716; Ps 34:8 336
Matthew 19:27-29

Peter said to Jesus,
"We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?"
Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life."
Commentary on
Mt 19:27-29

St. Matthew’s Gospel continues the focus on valuing the spiritual life above the material pursuits of earthly existence. The disciples were dismayed at the asceticism required by the discipline and sacrifice required by Christ. In response to Peter’s expression of this concern, Jesus, in an eschatological discourse, provides a vision of the heavenly kingdom in which those who have faithfully followed the Lord will receive an inestimable reward.

CCC: Mt 19:23-29 2053; Mt 19:23-24 226; Mt 19:26 276, 308, 1058; Mt 19:28 765

St. Benedict, whose memorial we celebrate, is considered to be the father of western monasticism. His template for the cloistered life, focused on spiritual development and acts of charity have shaped religious life for over a millennia. Sacred Scripture provided on his feast demonstrates how perceptive our noble saint was in identifying the mind of Christ in the rule he established.

In Proverbs, we find the words of wisdom passed down from the great King Solomon. Even possessing incredible wealth, he counted it more important that the spirit of God evidenced in wisdom was lived authentically. He recognized even in those ancient times that the life of the spirit was more important than all the treasure that could be amassed.

Likewise, in St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus hears the complaint of the twelve and reassures them that the sacrifices they make in this life for the sake of Jesus and his message will be rewarded beyond understanding by the Heavenly Father. This theme of selfless service to God was central to the
Rule of St. Benedict.

Today, on his feast, we thank God for calling St. Benedict and his followers. Through them he continues to provide a living sign in the world of the power of Christ’s love and fidelity. May we see this example of faith and be moved to greater efforts on our part.


[1] The picture is “Saint Benedict” by Fra Angelico,1387
[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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