Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 Chapter 5
Sentiments of Esteem Which the Uncle and the Schoolfellows of the Servant of God Entertained for Him
The pastor of Erin, Msgr. Emadon shared that the other children paid as much respect for Benedict as they did their teachers. Fr. Marconi states it is because of the saint’s piety.
He goes on to name three teachers who witnessed Benedict directing and severely reprimanding them when he saw his peers doing something improper and contrary to the commandments. The words used to describe Benedict in this way were that he was always pious, modest and devout. They further stated that when he was in prayer at the Divine Office, they would rarely see him move. His peers reported that at lunch break, Benedict was rarely seen eating; he would give his lunch to some poor person by handing it out the school window.
Benedict was always seen walking with a book in his hand. He would be reading that the spiritual works from the library the whole time while living with his uncle who was the pastor of Erin.
St. Benedict’s prayer life was very much in union with the Divine Will. Most of his readings were of sermons from a famous priest at the time known for his preaching on morality and hell. This moved Benedict to always seek what Divine Providence was asking of him. Fr Marconi states that fear and love is what moved him. Benedict was fourteen years old at this time.
Benedict Joseph had an inclination towards peace and solitude. The Spirit led him to an ardent desire for frequent reception of the sacraments. Father Marconi states: “ the signs of his vocation to this state appeared more certain, in as much for several years he had exercised himself in the constant practice of poverty, humility and penance.” P5 In short, Benedict’s way of life that was calling him towards a religious vocation.
Benedict’s heart was moving him towards the religious community of La Trappe which was the strictest order in the Church at that time. They had a reputation for living out the virtues. This community followed the original rule of St. Bernard who lived in the twelfth century.
When Benedict asked his uncle, he was encouraged to seek permission from his parents. The saint then turned to God and spent much time in prayer and discernment. He knew this would be a difficult thing to ask. He was the oldest of the 15 children and was the rightful heir to his parents’ estate and it was customarily known that it would be his responsibility to take care of the family and their possessions after his parents. Benedict’s family would be by today’s standards upper-middle class, so the responsibilities would be many.
Benedict made the trip to his parent’s home to deliver his question to them. The words Fr Marconi said his mother was shocked. The vehemently opposed and refused his request.
They wanted the esteem of him becoming a pastor like so many already on both sides of their family. “The humble young man considered their refusal as one of the trials which Divine Providence was pleased to make of his virtue. His ready obedience forbade every rumor, re returned to his uncle to put himself again under his direction, and resolved, redoubling his fervor, to endeavor to obtain of God that he would one day accept of the sacrifice and dedication of himself which he was held to make to His Divine Service.” P6
Prayer After This Week's Reflection
by Anne Costa
St. Benedict Joseph, intercede for us in times of doubt and temptation. Your example of simple piety, devotion and trust can help us in our every day lives. May our hearts be filled as yours was with humility and love and a desire to follow Jesus always. Amen.