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Saint Benedict’s Compass, by Cardinal Parolin

The Benedictines, a Lighthouse for Today

On celebrating Mass at the Monte Oliveto Maggiore  Abbey, for the feast of Saint Benedict of Nursia on July 11, 2019, Cardinal Pietro Parolin invited the Benedictines to be a lighthouse that “illuminates the night.” At the Motherhouse of the Olivetan Benedictines in Tuscany, the Vatican Secretary of State meditated on the compass left by their founder.

In his homily, reported by “Vatican News,” the Vatican’s “Number 2” stressed that Saint Benedict had “a strong and seducing ideal to hang onto, to be able to face the tempest of the Old Wold, which was declining and the cries of the one being born.”

Seven hundred years after the foundation of the Abbey, Cardinal Parolin described Saint Benedict’s Rule as “a true Cathedral of wisdom, founded not on the sand of facile emotions or on impulses of generosity little meditated and weak, but rather on the solid rock of a robust faith, solidified by experience and by the practice of piety and virtues.” This practice, in fact, enables one to “catch the most subtle movements of the heart, its great and noble possibilities as well as its arrhythmias and its illnesses, (to be) always watchful if it ceases to take the opportune medications of humility and of prayer.”

The Vatican Secretary of State said that the Saint of Nursia left “a luminous path of perfection offered to our generation and to our time,” in particular, his compass: ‘Nihil amori Christi praeponere,’ “place nothing before the love of Christ.” It’s “the necessary and sufficient condition to go through changes remaining stable in hope, strong in temptation, victorious over forces that would break up and dissolve. “

Moreover, he continued, the Benedictines are a “lighthouse” and a “call to a life full of meaning because surrendered and full of peace, despite the errors, the sins, the human miseries and the dramas of history.” And their monasteries are “an oasis of rest from storms and a sure and powerful sign on the way, sometimes confused and twisted by so many people who seek groping that salvation and happiness, which they can easily find, if only they raised their eyes to Jesus and Mary, His Mother.”

In conclusion, Cardinal Parolin invited the Benedictines to be this lighthouse that “illuminates the night and makes one perceive the Lord’s paternal and merciful face.” The monks can show all that it “is possible to overcome the spiritual worldliness, so often pointed out by Pope Francis as one of the greatest dangers.”


About Anne Kurian

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