Europe’s “lighthouse”

Europe's Patron Saint celebrated in Montecassino, Nursia and Subiaco

“Europe is trying to find its own identity. To create a new, lasting unity, political, economic and legal tools are important, but an ethical and spiritual renewal must also be awakene, taking inspiration from the Christian roots of the Continent”. This was stated on 21 March by card. Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, as in Montecassino he celebrated the Day of Transition of Saint Benedict of Norcia. The topical relevance of his Message. According to the cardinal, “even today, Saint Benedict’s lesson” is “like a beacon on our path. The great Abbot is still a master at whose school we can learn the art of living true Humanism. Just like at the end of antiquity, Saint Benedict and his monks managed to be the builders and the custodians of civilisation, likewise, in this age of ours, which is so rapidly changing, it is urgent to become aware of new needs and at the same time insist on a deep adherence to timeless values”. The first and foremost of such values “is God’s Word, which must be listened to every single day to convert our life and to respond to the challenges of history. If, just like for Saint Benedict, spiritual life will be really deep in the Christian man, in the religious man, in the priest; if everyone, in his own state, will try to serve God, then they will effectively become the servants of man and the real builders of the civilisation of love”. “The jewel” of the Rule. “Benedict’s jewel – explained card. Bertone – is his Rule, which, by harmonising the oriental ascetic experience with Roman wisdom, shapes the order of that new city which is the Monastery. The Rule, the lynchpin of all his work, the perfect embodiment of his plan and a sound ground for the accomplishment of personal, communal and social life, became a code of conduct for thousands of disciples, scattered all over the regions of the Continent, and the instrument of Providence to educate the new nations too to faith, prayer, work, peace, love”. So, “in Saint Benedict’s wake, centres of prayer, of culture, of human promotion, of hospitality for the poor and the pilgrims were erected all over the European continent. Two centuries after his death, over one thousands monasteries lived according to his Rule”. Over 1,500 years after the message of the Abbot, proclaimed the main patron of Europe by Paul VI on 24th October 1964, “this message is still applicable today: Benedictine Christocentrism is still a veritable humanism, as it reconciles the transcendence of prayer with man’s activity in the conquest of the world. The ideal of a harmony between active and contemplative life is still extremely relevant”.For true progress. Celebrations of the Transit of Saint Benedict were held on March 21 in the two Benedictine cities of Nursia and Subiaco. In Nursia Msgr. Renato Boccardo, quoting Benedict XVI, recalled, “After the suffering of the two world wars in the past century, and after the collapse of ideologies which proved to be tragic utopias – Europe is now seeking its identity”. Spiritual renewal is necessary to rebuild the Old Continent, in order to avert “man’s temptation to self-redemption – an illusion which in different ways, as Pope John Paul II said, in the 20th century constituted ‘an unprecedented regression in the tormented history of humanity”‘. “In our quest for true progress – the prelate remarked – we acknowledge Saint Benedict’s Rule as the lighthouse illuminating our path”. These concepts were conveyed the previous day in Subiaco, where Saint Benedict sowed his seeds with the foundation of 13 monasteries. The bishop of Gaeta, abbot of Montecassino Msgr. Fabio Bernardo d’Onorio, who co-chaired celebrations with the ordinary abbot of Subiaco Fr. Mauro Meacci, underlined the works and the topical relevance of the Saint from Nursia, before the crowning ceremony of the statue located in the Sacred Cave.

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