Novena to St. Benedict – Day Three – The Father

Day3

HYMN

Eternal Father, God of Love,
Look kindly on us from above,
And grant that we may never stray
From paths marked out by you each day.

You sent Saint Benedict to be
Our father, who would help us see
How we should daily live aright,
That we might share your vision bright.

To you be praised eternally,
Most blessed, holy Trinity,
Whose loving grace did strength impart
And filled our Saint’s enraptured heart.

ANTIPHON: I will make you a great nation, and will bless you; and you shall be blessed.

PSALM 22 The Lord Is My Shepherd.

My shepherd is the Lord, my God, / with him I shall not ever want; * his verdant pastures give repose; / he leads me to the running streams, / where I may rest, my should refresh.
He guides and leads me on right paths, * and, as a loving shepherd should, / he guards and watches over me;
If I should walk on darksome paths / and in the somber shades of death, * no threatening evil need I fear, / for you are at my side, O Lord, / your rod and staff, they comfort me.
A banquet you prepare for me within the sight of all my foes, / your table spread as for a guest; * you pour sweet ointments on my head, / the cup you give me overflows;
Your loving kindness follows me / through all my day of life on earth; * may I then dwell within your house / for years to come, for ever, Lord.

ANTIPHON: I will make you a great nation, and will bless you; and you shall be blessed.

A READING FROM THE RULE OF ST. BENEDICT (ch. 2)

In his guidance of souls, the abbot should always observe the procedure set forth by the Apostle, who says: “Reprove, entreat, rebuke” (2 Tim 4:2). Mingling gentleness with severity, according to the circumstances, let him show the rigor of a master and the loving affection of a father; that is, she should more severely reprove the undisciplined and restless, but encourage the obedient, meek, and patient to make still greater progress in virtue; and we charge him to rebuke and punish the negligent and haughty.
R. Thanks be to God.

V. You have been pleasing in the sight of the Lord
R. Therefore the Lord has clothed you with splendor.

PRAYER

Let us pray.  God, our Father, may St. Benedict be our special patron in heaven so that what we cannot achieve by our own strength and merit, we may obtain through his merits and prayers and your loving grace.  This we ask of you through Christ our Lord.  

R. Amen

PRAYER FOR A HAPPY DEATH

V. Pray for us, holy Father Benedict.
R. That we may obtain the grace of a happy death.

Holy Father Benedict, * Blessed by God in grace and in name, * while standing in prayer with your hands raised to heaven, * you most happily yielded your angelic spirit into the hands of your Creator.  You promised zealously to defend against the snares of the enemy, * in the last struggle of death, * those who shall daily remind you * of your glorious departure and your heavenly joys.  Protect us therefore *  this day and every day by your holy blessing, * that we may never be separated from our blessed Lord, * from the company of yourself and all the blessed.  We ask this through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.


REFLECTION: God our Father

Keeping it short and sweet today, as it’s the 4th of July.  Happy 4th everyone!

Today’s theme got me thinking of Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s reflection on the Rule of Benedict titled Listen My Son: St. Benedict for Fathers.  Fr. Longenecker is a Catholic convert and he was an Anglican priest when he was received into the church.  In 2006, he was ordained a Catholic priest via the special pastoral provision for married former Protestant clergy.  He also writes a great Catholic blog here.  He offers some great insights into both fatherhood  (he has four children), but  I’d recommend his book to anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the Rule of St. Benedict.

St. Benedict obviously took his role as a spiritual father seriously.  Today’s reading also indicates how seriously Benedict took lines from the Our Father “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”  These are radical, often overlooked words tucked into the heart of this prayer.  These words put a great responsibility on all Christians to incarnate the Gospel in their everyday lives.  St. Benedict’s prescriptions for the abbot in the reading show us how diligent we need to be in examining our own thoughts and actions, so that we can better live up to the ideals of the Our Father.

%d bloggers like this: