Published on Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:37

My favourite modern poet, Malcolm Guite, has written poems for many special days of the church's year.

Whilst thinking about my July Jottings, I came across this poem for St. Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Casino, c.550, known as the Father of Western Monasticism, whose special day falls on July 11th.

As he is the Patron Saint of Europe, and I am currently in France, it seemed appropriate to quote the poem in my Jottings, together with a little about the Saint.
Benedict (July 11th)

You sought to start a simple school of prayer,
A modest, gentle, moderate attempt,
With nothing made too harsh or hard to bear,
No treating or retreating with contempt,
A little rule, a small obedience
That sets aside, and tills the chosen ground,
Fruitful humility, chosen innocence,
A binding by which freedom might be found
You call us all to live, and see good days,
Centre in Christ and enter in his peace,
To seek his Way amidst our many ways,
Find blessedness in blessing, peace in praise,
To clear and keep for Love a sacred space
That we might be beginners in God’s grace.

Malcolm Guite

Sonnet for Benedict, drawing largely on phrases from the Rule.
From The Singing Bowl; Canterbury Press

Benedict was the son of a noble of the small town of Nursia, in Italy. His boyhood was spent in Rome where he lived with his parents and was educated. As he grew up, he came to dislike the way many people lived their lives and, aged about nineteen or twenty, he decided to leave Rome and find somewhere to live quietly and dedicate his life to God.

He took his old nurse with him and, when she accidentally broke an earthenware kitchen vessel, he mended it miraculously. That brought him a lot of unwanted attention and he moved once more and went to live as a hermit in the mountains. People began to visit him for advice and teaching and he eventually founded thirteen monasteries and developed the Benedictine Rule.

Benedict's rule was written to help people to serve God, living life as fully as possible as set out in the Gospel, with self-discipline and hard work, in community with others.

Underlying all of The Rule is the concept that all life needs to be rooted in prayer, realising that God is ever present with us.

That is something we all need to recognise. No part of our lives is unimportant to God who knows and loves us better than we do ourselves.

Love, Prayers and Blessings,


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