Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beauty Ever Ancient Ever New: Holiness for the Third Christian Millennium

Today we celebrate the memorial of St Benedict, Abbot. 

Mass Readings for the Day

Listen to my homily for today:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Bands of roving hoards swept across the lands as St Benedict saw the great city of Rome crumble before his eyes.  Knowing that there was a need for a new way of life in keeping with the holy Gospel, he retreated to a cave in the hills in Subiaco.  Here God gave him the gift of the Ora et Labor, the prayer and work, of Christ.  Monastic life based on St Benedict's rule of life swept across Europe and there grew up a new civilization.

After the first Christian millennium the Church was choked by riches, God sent Francis to teach us the gift of Christ's simplicity and poverty.  Everything in the Church became franciscan.  The cistercians came to renew monastic life again, this time with an emphasis on community living.  In 100 years there were 1100 new monasteries with 10,000 monks living this new way of life.

It could be said that holiness in the first Christian millennium could be typified by the words, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27).  The holiness of the second Christian millennium, with all its charitable works of hospitals, schools, orphanages, hospices, universities, could be described by the words, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Again Luke 10:27).  But the third Christian millennium how will it be described?  Blessed Pope John Paul in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte at the close of the Jubilee celebration said we need the holiness, or "Spirituality of Communion."  This could be described by the words, "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34).

We need a new kind of way of living the Gospel for our age.  This is a holiness of relationships.  Pope Benedict recently said that the Second Vatican Council could be reduced to one word: Communio.  This kind of holiness is desperately needed to heal the very deep and great wounds in broken relationships of our day.

May the Holy Mother of God, Mary, Queen of Saints, pray for us to obtain in our age many holy men and women who can preach the Gospel of Communion in the way that they love one another.

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