Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Saint Benedict of Aniane: “Rekindle in us that love of Solitude”

Today is the feast of Saint Benedict of Aniane (745-821). Under the patronage of Louis the Pious (778-840), Benedict of Aniane, an ex-soldier whose baptismal name was Witiza, promoted the observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict (of Nursia) in the monasteries of the Carolingian empire. As a novice — many, many years ago — I was introduced to his Concordia Regularum, a collection of ancient monastic rules.

Liturgy of the Day

The liturgy for today’s feast has some lovely elements. At Vigils there is a proper hymn; the rest of the Office, apart from the Collect, is from the Common of Monks. The Collect asks for the grace that, through the ages, monks have sought, recovered, and lost over and over again: perfect discipline in Christ!

Deus, qui beati Benedicti abbatis
doctrina et exemplis vitam monasticam renovasti,
eius intercessione concede propitius,
ut perfectam disciplinam teneamus in Christo.

O God, Who by the teaching and example of the blessed abbot Benedict,
didst renew the monastic life,
graciously grant, through his intercession,
that we may hold fast to perfect discipline in Christ.

I don’t have at hand the Latin text of the Cistercian variant of the Collect, but I do have the French, which I translate as follows:

Lord our God,
Who called Saint Benedict of Aniane
to restore the monastic fervour of earlier times;
rekindle in us that love of solitude,
relish of the Divine Office,
and zeal for unity,
that inspired him in his work of renewal.

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