Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 21 March

detail of a painting of Saint Benedict of Nursia writing the Benedictine rule, Herman Nieg, 1926, church of Heiligenkreuz Abbey near Baden bei Wien, Lower Austria; swiped off wikimedia CommonsSaint Benedict, Patriarch

Saint Benedict spent a long time in a grotto at Subiaco, called now “the holy cave,” meditating day and night on heavenly things. When assailed in his solitude by terrible temptations, he did not hesitate to roll among thorns to obtain deliverance. The Church venerates him as the Father of the religious life in the West. The various Congregations of Benedictines, the Cistercians and the Trappists look to him as their first legislator, and the saints of both sexes in these different branches amount, it is said, to five thousand. Saint Dominic himself, guided by a divine light, borrowed from him many religious observances, in order, as the Constitutions say, “to render the religious more fit for the work of preaching.” Saint Gregory the Great, a disciple of Saint Benedict, summed up the life of his master in these words: “He dwelt within himself,” That is to say, he remained within his own soul to study it, to possess it, to purify it and to fill it with God. Happy that dwelling in which, finding yourself, you find the way of salvation, the anticipated possession of eternal life. The crosses called Saint Benedict’s crosses come down from the earliest times and protect against the influence of demons, against the plague and against thunder and lightning.


O my God, make me to dwell in my own heart!


During the day, regard your house as a cloister.