I am writing about Saint Benedict at the moment and am intrigued by one of the three vows professed by Benedictines: stability. Msgr. Charles Pope has an interesting article on the subject contrasting the Benedictine vow of stability with the instability of family and societal life today. As always, the saints are way ahead of us. Especially Saint Benedict who lived 1500 years ago.
The vow of stability means that a Benedictine will live out his or her life in one monastery. There’s no looking over the fence for where the grass is greener. It means that problems have to be worked out, difficult people have to be loved, selfish desires have to give way to the common good.
Look how it is today: no one lives in their hometown, parents move to Florida, no one stays with one company for their entire life, people don’t seem to want to settle down and establish roots. This is especially true in marriage where 50% of marriages end in divorce.
Monsignor says, “Stability, though difficult to find in our times is very important to cultivate wherever possible and to the extent possible. In particular, the gift to seek is the kind of stability that is content with what God has given and is not always restlessly seeking a more ideal setting. For again, as we have noted: Ultimately there is no escape from oneself, and the idea that things would be better someplace else is usually an illusion.”
Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.
May 31, 2012, was the solemn profession day for two Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga. St. Benedict says in his rule, “Let him who is to be received make in the oratory, in the presence of all, a promise of stability, conversion of manners and obedience before God and his saints. This petition is to be written in his own hand.” The two sisters, Sr. Lioba and Sr. Maria-Gertrude, followed their spiritual father, Saint Benedict, by doing just that.
Mother had an interesting insight into what it means for a Bride of Christ to die to self. She said, “You have embraced the very heart of what John the Baptist has said, ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’ If a nun’s deaths do not make her more alive to God, she is still living in the Old Testament, she will not be very good news to the world; but you are good news to the world. You have embraced the Paschal Mystery.”
The Abbey is the newest IRL Affiliate Community. Located in the Archdiocese of Denver, they were founded in 1935 from the Abbey of St. Erentrud in Austria. In addition to participation in the daily Eucharist, spiritual reading and liturgical prayer, they also run a gift shop and retreat house.
On April 14, 2012, Fr. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., will receive the 2012 Pro Fidelitate et Virtute award at the 2012 IRL National Meeting banquet. Fr Folsom founded a new monastery in a small apartment in Rome in 1998 and in 2000 moved the community to Norcia, the birthplace of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica. The Vatican II document Perfectae Caritatis urges religious to rediscover to their roots which Fr. Folsom surely did!
A 40-minute video, “Quaerere Deum,” showing what life is like for the monks has recently been released and is available to all for viewing. The title comes from the first task of all monks, “To Seek God,” as described by the Rule of St Benedict.
In 2009, the monks were given a new apostolate by the Holy See: to make both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman rite available. “This practice of offering both forms (in utroque usu) allows us the possibility to drink deeply from the riches of the tradition and, at the same time, to open our doors wide to the Church as she is today.”
For registration information for the IRL National Meeting and/or banquet (April 13-25, 2012), please visit our website or give us a call at (847)573-8975. The theme of the meeting is “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts: The Liturgy as a Foretaste of Heaven.”
This year, the IRL’s Pro Fidelitate et Virtute Award will go to the Very. Rev. Cassian Folsom, O.S.B., named the 2011 Man of the Year by Inside the Vatican magazine.
In the article, Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor-in-chief of the magazine, wrote: “Sometimes we are able to see a splendid adventure of life and faith just at the moment that it is unfolding. … Such is the case with Father Cassian Folsom and the refounding of the Benedictine monastery in Norcia, Italy—the birthplace of St. Benedict in about A.D. 480—which was closed in 1810, and reopened after 190 years in the year 2000. For what Father Folsom has done for Norcia, for what he has done for monasticism in general and Benedictine monasticism in particular, for what he has done for the Church’s liturgy and for what he has taught all of us about following Christ by his Christian example, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to select Cassian Folsom, who is also an old friend, as our ‘Person of the Year’ for 2011.”
Please join us at the IRL banquet dinner honoring Fr. Cassian which will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at the University of St. Mary of the Lake. The banquet is just one part of our National Meeting (April 13-15, 2012) which this year is focusing on The Sacred Liturgy as a Foretaste of Heaven. All are invited to attend. Please visit our website for more information.