The Rule Rules!

The VerbumQUO for today is "benedictióne" which in English is the noun "benediction" taken from today's Epistle for Os justi in honoring today's Saint, appropriately Saint Benedict, Father of Western Monasticism and Founder of the Benedictines and the hope for restoring Holy Mother Church.
Michael Cain
Editor, The Daily Catholic

      This series highlights one word from the Proper of the day's Mass. Taking the Latin Verbum and Quotidianum, which mean respectively "Word" and "Daily", we have coined the word "Verbumquo" by contracting quotidianum to quo and running it together as VerbumQUO for this feature series, thus "The Daily Word," as in the sum of the message, the 'quotient', if you will. It is also our hope that in choosing the Latin word with its meaning and etimology more will be attuned to hearing the word read at the altar and better comprehend the beauty of the Mother tongue. Hopefully in this Time of Lent we can gain a higher appreciation and contemplation on how the Daily Proper of the Holy Mass applies in our lives in alignment with the will of Christ and His Blessed Immaculate Mother and His Mystical Bride, His Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    The VerbumQUO for today's greater double of the Feast of Saint Benedict, Confessor, Abbot and Founder of the Benedictines, is benedictióne which means "benediction" and is taken from today's Epistle from Ecclesiasticus 45: 1-6 for the Mass today of a Holy Abbot Os justi:
      Diléctus Deo et homínibus, cujus memória in benedictióne est. Símilem il­lum fecit in glória sanctórum, et magnificávit eum in timóre inimicórum, et in verbis suis monstra placávit. Glorificávit illum in conspéctu regum, et jussit illi coram pópulo suo, et osténdit illi glóriam suam. In fide, et lenitáte ipsíus, sanctum fecit illum et elégit eum ex omni carne. Audívit cum enim eum, et vocem ipsíus et indúxit illum in nubem. Et dedit illi coram præcépta, et legem vitæ et disciplínæ.
      He was beloved of God and men, whose memory is in benediction; He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies; and with his words he made prodigies to cease; He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and showed him his glory; He sanctified him in his faith and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh; for He heard him and his voice, and brought him into a cloud; and He gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instruction.

   From benedictióne comes the English noun "benediction" which means "blessed." Phonetically it is pronounced BEEN-EH-DICK-SEE-OH-NAY with the emphasis on the bolded part. Let us look at Webster's definition:

    "benediction" - noun, [From the Latin benedictio to bless.] 1. Act of blessing; a blessing; specific: a The short blessing by a minister or priest, with which public worship is closed. b Roman Catholic Church The rite of solemnly blessing and often formal dedicating to God. 2. Realized blessedness; state of grace. benedicite , interjective. Bless you! n. 1. Grace at table. 2. [cap.] The canticle "Benedicite, omnia opera Domini," or "O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord."

    We can see how Latin here has transferred into being an accepted word in English - 'benedicite' coming from benedictio and we can easily see the perfect moniker for today's saint Saint Benedict who was a blessing to God and to all he ministered to. To this holy monk, called the "Father of Western Monasticism", is attributed the spread of Christianity. The beautiful words of the Epistle apply fully to Benedict who eschewed riches to embrace the will of God, turning his back on fortunes for a cramped, cold, lonely cave near Subiaco in Italy where for three years he gave himself to prayer and solitude to discern the will of God and prepare himself for the mission he had been entrusted with by the Almighty. From him, through the Holy Ghost, came the Rule of St. Benedict, a simple and exact rule that would be embraced by all of Europe and beyond. Many holy popes would come from the ranks of the Order of Saint Benedict and countless saints would be raised into the heavenly ranks because they were obedient to God through the Deposit of Faith so captured by living the Holy Rule.

    It is interesting to note that Benediction is the elevation of the Sacred Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity for all to see within the glass luna in a gold monstrance; a true blessing for all present and powerful prayers for the Church Militant in praising and adoring God. This was a mainstay of Benedict's Rule replete with prayer, penance and sacrifice. His feast always falls in the midst of Lent and for a purpose since it is a reminder to stay the course and call upon him to help sustain us when temptations threaten to throw us off course. When temptation assailed him in the cave, those of impurity, no less (for no one is immune from temptation and those seeking holiness are the devil's prime targets), Benedict flagellated himself in thorns to drive the thoughts away. Oh, if only more would have practiced self-denial and followed the holy Rule, they would be greatly blessed today and have overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. But alas, they gave in to their concupiscence and with it the devils (daemonia as we talked about on Sunday from the Gospel), and because of the lack of vigilance, Europe is fast becoming godless, losing the Faith fostered by Benedict.

    One who followed the Rule to perfection and preserved it, so that it could be presented today in all its blessedness and glory, was the holy Benedictine Abbot Dom Gueranger who, in Volume 5 of The Liturgical Year, provided this prayer to the Holy Father Benedict to bless a people who don't deserve it, but who need the intercession of this great saint of the Church:

    "O father of so many people! look down upon thine inheritance, and once more bless this ungrateful Europe, which owes everything to thee, yet has almost forgotten thy name! The light which thy children imparted to it has become dimmed; the warmth they imparted to the societies they founded and civilized by the cross has grown cold; thorns have covered a large portion of the land in which they sowed the seed of salvation. Come and protect thine own work; and by thy prayers, keep it from perishing. Give firmness to what has been shaken. May a new Europe, a Catholic Europe, spring up in place of that which heresy and false doctrines have formed."

    That sounds exactly like today and yet one must realize Dom Gueranger wrote that in the mid 1800's! He was truly a prophet in so many senses for what he foresaw as a trickle then has become a flood. Consider his further words of supplication to St. Benedict:

    "O patriarch of the servants of God! look down from Heaven on the vineyard which thy hand hath planted, and see into what a state of desolation it has fallen. There was a time when thy name was honored as that of a father in thirty thousand monasteries, from the shores of the Baltic to the borders of Syria, and from the green Erin to the steppes of Poland. Now, alas! few and feeble are the prayers that ascend to thee from the whole of that immense patrimony, which the faith and gratitude of the people had once consecrated to thee. The blight of heresy and the rapaciousness of avarice have robbed thee of these harvests of the glory. The work of sacrilegious spoliation is now centuries old, and unceasingly has it been pursued; at one time having recourse to open violence, and at another pleading the urgency of political interests. Sainted father of our faith! thou has been robbed of those thousands of sanctuaries, which, for long ages, were fountains of life and light to the people. The race of thy children has become almost extinct; watch over them that still remain, and are laboring to perpetuate thy rule. An ancient tradition tells us how our Lord revealed to thee that thy Order would last to the end of the world, and that thy children would console the Church of Rome and confirm the faith of many in the last great trials; deign to protect, by thy powerful intercession, the remnants of that family which still calls thee its father. Raise it up again; multiply it; sanctify it: let the spirit which thou hast deposited in thy holy rule flourish in its midst and show, by thus blessing it, that thou art ever Benedict, the servant of God."

    Oh, what powerful words and think of it just as he puts it: we have been robbed of those thousands, yeah hundreds of thousands and more sanctuaries that have been desecrated and ripped apart and those who would be Benedictines, Franciscans, Oblates, Jesuit, Dominican and all other religious orders that have produced so much good fruit in the past, have either been aborted or turned their hearts away from God and those who exemplified the ideals of holiness such as Benedict. No wonder God has withdrawn His graces and protection today and allows the robber barons to wreak havoc and lead astray the sheep. Because we have not listened to God's word, because we have not been vigilant in knowing the Faith, we are no longer blessed and therein is the lesson. It is prophesied that the great Pope that will rescue the Church, as the true longed-for Pontiff, will be a holy Benedictine who will restore Christ's Church to her glory and blessings. The fruits of St. Benedict's work will not be in vain, though today, even with a man named after him sitting on the throne, by the latter's words and actions he is not following the Rule of Benedict or the Rule of God passed down and preserved in His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is interesting to note that, like the twelve Tribes of Israel and then the twelve Apostles, St. Benedict founded twelve monasteries. From those twelve it swelled. Blessings can swell again if only the Benedictines will stay the Rule. Or, as it might be said in today's colloquialism: The Rule Rules!

Michael Cain, editor, The Daily Catholic

VerbumQUO for the Feast of St. Benedict, Abbot