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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD : WEDNESDAY JULY 11, 2012

 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VATICAN : ISLAMIC - CATHOLIC LIAISON MEETING
AMERICA : KATIE HOLMES FORMER WIFE OF TOM CRUISE RETURNS CATHOLIC FAITH
AUSTRALIA : WHAT IS THE PALLIUM - ARCHBISHOP EXPLAINS
ASIA : CHINA : PROTEST OVER RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS
AFRICA : EGYPT : PARLIAMENT HELD HOSTAGE BY MILITARY
EUROPE : NATIONAL DISABILITY DAY - GOD'S DEEPEST WHISPER
TODAY'S MASS ONLINE WEDNESDAY JULY 11, 2012
TODAY'S SAINT: JULY 11: ST. BENEDICT OF NURSIA
 
VATICAN : ISLAMIC - CATHOLIC LIAISON MEETING
ISLAMIC-CATHOLIC LIAISON COMMITTEE MEETING Vatican City, 11 July 2012 (VIS) - The Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee held an extraordinary meeting in Rome on 10 July 2012, corresponding to Shaban 20, 1433. The meeting was presided over for the Catholic side by His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and for the Muslim side by H.E. Prof. Dr. Hamid bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie, president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue.
The participants exchanged views about the relations between Christians and Muslim in the current situation of the world. In order to continue their deliberations and in the continuity of the dialogue existing since 1995, the two parties agreed to hold the next meeting of the Committee in Rome, in the first week of July 2013, corresponding to the first week of Shaban 1434, for two full working days. Eight participants from each side will participate in the meeting, which will have the theme "Believers in front of Materialism and Secularism".


OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
Vatican City, 11 July 2012 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Antonio Carlos Altieri, S.D.B., as archbishop of Passo Fundo (area 12,000, population 537,000, Catholics 425,000, priests 150, religious 415), Brazil. Archbishop Altieri, formerly bishop of Caraguatatuba, succeeds Archbishop Pedro Ercilio Simon, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Passo Fundo the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- Appointed Bishop Marek Jedraszewski as archbishop of Lodz (area 5,200, population 1,502,000, Catholics 1,421,500, priests 767, religious 778), Poland. Formerly auxiliary bishop of Poznan, Poland, he succeeds Archbishop Wladyslaw Ziolek, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Lodz the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Elias Gonsalves, director of Social Work of the archdiocese of Bombay, as bishop of the diocese of Amravati (area 46,447, population 10,634,000, Catholics 5,622, priests 32, religious 230), India. The bishop-elect was born in Chulne of the Vasai diocese in 1961 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1990. He has a bachelor's degree in history and economics from Bombay University and a diploma in social development and community building from the Coady Institute in Nova Scotia, Canada. He has served as pastor of several parishes. The diocese of Amravati has been vacant since 11 November 2010, when Bishop Daniel Lourdes was appointed to the diocese of Nashik, India.
- Appointed Msgr. Philip Anthony Egan of the clergy of the diocese of Shrewsbury, as bishop of Portsmouth (area 6,339, population 2,524,000, Catholics 192,000, priests 189, permanent deacons 43, religious 363), England. The bishop-elect was born in Altrincham in the diocese of Chester in 1955 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1984. After graduate studies in theology at Boston College in the United States, he served as professor of fundamental theology and academic dean at St. Mary's College, Oscott in Birmingham, England. In 2008 he became pastor of Our Lady and St. Christopher in Stockport and, in 2010, vicar general of the diocese of Shrewsbury. He succeeds Bishop Crispian Hollis, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Portsmouth the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

AMERICA : KATIE HOLMES FORMER WIFE OF TOM CRUISE RETURNS CATHOLIC FAITH

Actress Katie Holmes, former wife of actor Tom Cruise has left the Church of Scientology to return to the Catholic Church. She has registereed with St. Francis Xavier Parish in New York.
She recently divorced Cruise whom she married in 2005. They had a daughter together named Suri in 2006.
According to some news sources Holmes rejected the Scientology faith and does not want her daughter exposed to this religion.
Holmes apparently has custody of her daughter and will raise her in the Catholic Faith. Holmes was born in 1978 and gained fame through her role as "Joey" in the series "Dawson Creek".

AUSTRALIA : WHAT IS THE PALLIUM - ARCHBISHOP EXPLAINS



ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE REPORT:
Article and photos by Fr R Cross
On Sunday 8 July, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, at his first public Mass in St Mary's Cathedral after returning from Rome where he was vested with the Pallium by Pope Benedict XVI, spoke to the people of Perth about the significance of the Pallium.
In his homily, His Grace called the people of the Archdiocese to be Good Shepherds to each other and asked for their prayers that he might be the Good Shepherd for them.

Homily of Archbishop Timothy Costelloe for the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
As many of you know I have just returned from Rome where, together with forty-three other newly appointed metropolitan archbishops, I received the Pallium from the Holy Father.
The pallium, which I am wearing today around my neck, is a very simple garment, but it is full of significance. As you can see it is rather like a woolen scarf which has a number of crosses embroidered on it. It is woven from wool which comes from lambs blessed by the Pope earlier in the year on the feast day of Saint Agnes. Once the pallia have been made they are placed on the tomb of Saint Peter on June 28, the eve of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, and they rest there overnight until the Pope places them on the shoulders of the new archbishops at a special Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica the following morning.
As the Holy Father placed the pallium on my shoulders, and I was able to assure him of the affection and the loyalty and the prayers of the catholic people of our archdiocese and of Western Australia, I found myself reflecting on the mystery of God’s call in my own life and of the presence of his grace at work in me. After all it is his grace, and nothing else, that enables any of us to respond to him with fidelity and with love – even if our fidelity is sometimes betrayed by our infidelity and our love is sometimes betrayed by our indifference.
The pallium is given many different meanings but one which makes a lot of sense I think is the idea that it symbolizes the sheep which the Good Shepherd carries on his shoulders. We all know the parable of the lost sheep. Jesus tells us that the Good Shepherd will leave the ninety-nine sheep and go in search of the one that is lost. And when he finds it he places it on his shoulders and carries it home to the fold.
In the context of Jesus’ own time and place, this can seem a very foolish thing to do. Once the shepherd goes off in search of the lost sheep, who is left to look after the ninety nine? What is to stop them wandering off in all directions and getting lost themselves? The shepherd runs the risk of finding the one lost sheep but losing all the others in the process. From a common-sense point of view, and from an economic point of view, it would be much better for the shepherd to stay with the ninety-nine and resign himself to the unfortunate loss of the one sheep. But this of course is a parable and Jesus has a very important point to make. When it comes to the relationship between God and his people, between God and us, such things as common sense and economic prudence simply have no place. The only factor to be taken into account is love. Just as the shepherd will go to any lengths to find the lost sheep, even when it seems foolish to do so, so the Lord will never give up on us, even when our lives are more marked by infidelity than by fidelity, by indifference than by love. As the Holy Father said to us in his homily in Saint Peter’s just over a week ago, “the Church is not a community of the perfect, but a community of sinners, obliged to recognize their need for God’s love, their need to be purified through the cross of Jesus Christ.” It is because of God’s love for us that he never gives up on us, even when we give up on him.
The Holy Father’s reminder that we are not a community of the perfect but a community of sinners is a very important one because it points us in a new direction as we reflect on our own lives as individual Christians, as members of Christian communities, and as members of the world-wide Church. We see within us and around us the presence of sinfulness, frailty and weakness. We also of course see the presence of great courage, holiness and generosity. But as Saint Paul reminds us in today’s second reading, it is in the midst of our failure, our weakness and yes, even our sinfulness, that the Lord says to us, as he said to Paul himself, “my grace is enough for you, my power is at its best in weakness.”
This was the case for all the great men and women of our faith. It was when Saint Peter was being led to his death and was at his most vulnerable that he was also at his strongest. It was when Mary MacKillop was most misunderstood and attacked that she was most open to God’s presence in her life. It was when Mary, the mother of the Lord, stood helpless at the foot of the cross that she was able to accept the call to be the mother of the Church. It is the same for us. It is when we are most aware of our limitations, overwhelmed by the challenges we face, or overcome by our failures, that we are most open to the gift of God’s healing and strengthening and empowering grace. “My grace is enough for you,” says the Lord to each one of us this morning, “for my power is at its best in weakness.”
The pallium I am wearing today has three pins inserted into it. Originally they were meant for a practical purpose – to keep the pallium in place. Today they symbolize the three nails by which Jesus was pinned to the cross. He was at his weakest and most helpless – and yet in him and through him God’s saving and healing grace was and is offered to us all. Those nails – these pins – remind me and all of us that it is only when we are ready to give ourselves as a gift to God and to each other in love, even at the inevitable cost of suffering, that new life will erupt into our world. This is the mystery of death and resurrection and it is the very heart of our faith.
Every time you see me wearing the pallium, may it be a reminder to you that all of us are called to be Good Shepherds to each other, bearing each other’s burdens with courage and love, even when it brings us suffering. And please pray for me, that each time I put on the pallium I might be strengthened in my desire to be the shepherd of God’s Church that he is calling me to be.
SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE

ASIA : CHINA : PROTEST OVER RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS

UCAN REPORT:
Chinese authorities step in after bishop defects from state organization
ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
China
July 11, 2012
Catholic Church News Image of Shanghai ordination under investigation
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong, center, attends a protest in front of the Central Government liaison office today
Two government-sanctioned Catholic Church organizations today announced an investigation into the recent ordination of a Vatican-approved bishop in Shanghai for violations of bodies’ regulations.
The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) and the Bishops’ Conferences of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) said in a statement posted on their website that the ordination of Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin on July 7 “allegedly violated seriously the BCCCC’s regulations with regard to bishops’ election and ordination.”
A Church source in Shanghai added today that the bishops who participated in the ordination ceremony have also been included in the investigation.
“Five participating bishops have been summoned to Beijing to give an account of it,” the source said.
During the ceremony, Bishop Ma announced that he would give up his membership in the local CPA body and his standing membership in the national organization.
He was led away shortly after the ceremony by an unidentified group of people and has since been prohibited from assuming the duties of his office, according to local Church sources who attended the event.
Officials from the Communist Party of China’s United Front Work department, which oversees religious affairs in the country, were expected to meet today with representatives from the CCPA and the bishops’ conference, both of which are not considered recognized Catholic bodies by the Vatican.
A Church observer who asked not to be named characterized the investigation as a “delaying tactic” to avoid answering media inquiries, adding that it suggests that Chinese authorities regard the ordination as unacceptable.
“Views are split on how to handle it,” the observer said.
Questions linger on the whereabouts of Bishop Ma, with some suggesting that he has been arrested and others saying he has been restricted to the grounds of the Sheshan Seminary in Shanghai.
“Saying that Ma Daqin has been detained, put under house arrest or disappeared are just rumors,” an unnamed spokesperson wrote on the Shanghai diocese’s website today. The post fueled further speculation over the unorthodox use of Bishop Ma’s name without his title.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong joined a protest rally organized by Hong Kong diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission in front of the Central Government’s liaison office today. Bishop Ma studied under Cardinal Zen at the Sheshan Seminary from 1989 until his appointment as coadjutor bishop of Hong Kong in 1996.
“We understand the situation in China,” Cardinal Zen told ucanews.com
“The Shanghai diocese is under great pressure to post such a notice, though it is useless to prove what is obvious.”
Or Yan-yan, an officer with the Justice and Peace Commission, said that restricting Bishop Ma to the seminary was “equivalent to house arrest.”
She added that there were serious doubts about the authenticity of a reported text message sent by Bishop Ma to explain his absence at Mass the day after his ordination.
The message cited the need for rest and that he had made a retreat to the Sheshan Seminary.
“It makes no sense for him to have rushed to a retreat without presiding over his first Mass, which was scheduled,” she said.
SHARED FROM UCAN NEWS

AFRICA : EGYPT : PARLIAMENT HELD HOSTAGE BY MILITARY

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
The Court annulled the presidential decree to restore the parliament last night. For Islamists the decision is political and has nothing to do with respect for the Constitution. The majority of judges linked to former Mubarak regime.


Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of people, led by Islamist leaders, took to the streets of Tahrir Square today to protest against Supreme Court which yesterday annulled the decree amended by Mohammed Morsi to restore the parliament majority, which is Islamist. The Court's decision was in response to the legislative dilemma of recent days after the signing of a Presidential Decree, but which opens a new conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Supreme Council of the armed forces. In recent days, leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have appealed to their supporters asking them to join them in the fight against the excessive power of the military, accused of attempting a coup.

According to Morsi supporters, the judgment of the Court is political, and allows the military to remain in power for another two months, until new parliamentary elections. "All judges are part of the former regime - said one of the protesters - they will never do anything against the military."

Morsi's presidential decree was a symbolic move to force the defense establishment to hand over power to civilians as promised after the fall of Mubarak in February 2011. The meeting convened yesterday lasted only a few minutes and was deserted by nearly a third of the deputies, mostly members of liberal parties and movements opposed to the sinister move of the Muslim Brotherhood. Local sources said that if this situation continues, Egypt will become hostage to two opposing powers, who have only their interests at heart and not those of the country. "The feeling - they say - is that nothing has changed a year after the Arab Spring".

Meanwhile, Morsi landed this morning in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) on his first official visit to a foreign country. Relations between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahabi kingdom are cold. The keepers of the sacred places of Islam are suspicious of more moderate stances of Egyptian Islamists. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated in recent weeks after a protest organized by some Egyptian activists to demand the release of a Saudi human rights lawyer arrested without reason by the authorities in Riyadh.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

EUROPE : NATIONAL DISABILITY DAY - GOD'S DEEPEST WHISPER

Catholic conference on paralympic legacy of London 2012 | EveryBody has a place, paralympic legacyIND. CATH NEWS REPORT:

Bishop Hyne with group at Aylesford
On the eve of the 2012 Games, the Catholic Church in England and Wales has held an international conference and a national day dedicated to disability to demonstrate and witness in the words of John Paul II that "the body has the ability to manifest God’s deepest whisper".
The conference, entitled 'EveryBody has a place', and the national day called ‘Now is the time to be friends’ set out to explore and celebrate the gifts of all people while offering theory and practice in the context of the topics of disability, theology and sport.
The Central London conference was attended by 160 people including people with disabilities and their families, professional staff, academics, clergy and religious and people from all denominations interested in the centrality of disability in the Christian experience.
The Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, opened the conference and each speaker affirmed the unique place of every body in creation. Speakers included Professor John Swinton from the University Aberdeen, Drs David Jones from The Elizabeth Anscombe Centre for Bioethics and Pia Mathews from St John’s Seminary Wonersh. The conference was joined by representatives of the Knights of Columbus from America, who provided insight to their work in Haiti with physically disabled people and their sponsorship of the Haitian amputee football team, Team Zaryen.
Baroness Shelia Hollins provided practical insight both as an eminent professional in the field of disability and also as a parent of a disabled child as she spoke about her project 'Books beyond words' and sport. Paralympian Stefanie Read recorded her testimony for the conference and a brief excerpt from the inspiring Paralympic resource Undefeated was also shown, produced by the Baptist Missionary Society.
The afternoon concluded with presentations from Andy Reed OBE from the Special Olympics Association, who brought the whole scope of the Olympic Games to this interesting and insightful day.
As the opening keynote speaker, Professor John Swinton of the University of Aberdeen spoke of the need to provide people with a place of belonging. “Inclusion is no longer enough”, he said. “To be true to the Gospel means ensuring that everyone has a place where they belong and are not merely included, where they are welcome at the heart of a community, where they are appreciated and deeply missed when not present.” He spoke of the Church needing to own and promote a new way of approaching the disabled person, rejecting the traditional approach of piety that focuses on a person’s vulnerability.
The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s organisation from the USA who helped to sponsor the event, premiered their film Healing Haiti’s Children. It showed how football is being used to help adults and children in Haiti affected by the hurricane in January 2010 to regain social status in one of the world’s poorest countries where being disabled has previously carried a social stigma. Many of Haiti’s now hundreds of amputees have used the challenge of losing an arm or leg as a positive statement to give back to society and to show that facing adversity can bring long-term benefits for everyone.
Theologian Dr Pia Matthews broke open John Paul II’s Theology of the Body explaining its relevance not only to the Paralympic experience but also to that of everyday ordinary people. She mentioned two concerns expressed by the deceased Pope: “Modern people, the abled as much as the disabled, no longer identify themselves subjectively with their bodies. It is as if the ‘hero’ self is imprisoned in matter and the body is the problem and so becomes an object to be manipulated.” And secondly, “the human tendency is to make the other into an object for me, forgetting or simply not seeing that the other is ‘an other’, a Christ. It seems that the profoundly disabled are more likely to be seen as ‘an object’ on several accounts.” She wwent on to say that “some build shells to protect themselves others. Others cannot mask their loneliness by strategies and so either way there is loneliness that seeks companionship but runs the risk of added loneliness when companionship does not materialise or when it ends up being another objectivisation.”
Cristina Gangemi, disability consultant to the Catholic Church in England and Wales, called the Paralympics a Christological event. "The Paralympics show us what Christ asks all of us to do,” she said, “to see a person regardless of their human form in all its potential and placing that person into a society in which the disability disappears. The Paralympics enact the Theology of the Body written by John Paul II, who was himself a great sportsman. He was always in shape, firmly disciplined, and allowed the Spirit to guide him in sport. He also demonstrated, experiencing firsthand the physical disability, that there is continuity between health and illness and that the body must be respected and honored at all stages.
"

A day dedicated to disability then took place at Aylesford Priory, the Carmelite monastery in Kent. In previous years the day was organised for the Archdiocese of Southwark. This year the day has been organised by a joint committee made up of diocesan disbility consultants, Faith and Light, HCPT and others engaging with those with disabilities. Hundreds of people attended from across the country, about half of whom were themesleves disabled, with the focus being on the human person in its full diversity.
The day was for the most part led by people with disabilities and included sports and arts, music, prayers, and finally, the celebration of the Mass celebrated by Bishop John Hine. He spoke of the need for everyone to recognise that Christ, the Messiah, is present in a tangible way and therefore to be honoured within their neighbour.
The opportunity was taken towards the end of the day to thank Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, which inspired much of the work being done today with those who are disabled.
Aside from theory and practice, great graces have been experienced through these new ventures. Julie Henry, who prepared and led the music for the national day, was herself very recently in a coma. Her daughter brought some holy water to her hospital bed and soon she was awake and speaking to doctors saying: “I still have to lead the music at Aylesford. It is on my heart and my goal is to be well and to be there.” She led an amazing day of liturgical music and playful celebration.
One person wrote from their wheelchair of the effects both events are having on her life: “I know now that my journey must become more embodied, more disciplined, and committed in walk with God, both physically and spiritually. I know He wants to teach me about nurturing, honouring, celebrating and sharing the body He has gifted to me. Even in the last few days, this new understanding has given rise to a willingness to risk giving up my pride, my self-sufficiency, and my envy, and to share more honestly and vulnerably with my friends and with God all my hopes, my fears and my dreams. I even plan to join a local gym in the next week too.”
Both days were characterised by the commitment of all those present to continue working together to build a just and fair society, but where more significantly people with disabilities are not just included, but where they feel they truly matter and wholeheartedly belong
SHARED FROM IND. CATH. NEWS

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE WEDNESDAY JULY 11, 2012

Matthew 10: 1 - 7

1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.
2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zeb'edee, and John his brother;
3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,
6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'

TODAY'S SAINT: JULY 11: ST. BENEDICT OF NURSIA


St. Benedict of Nursia
FOUNDER OF WESTERN MONASTICISM
Feast: July 11


Information:
Feast Day: July 11
Born:
480, Norcia (Umbria, Italy)
Died: 21 March 547 at Monte Cassino, Italy
Canonized: 1220
Major Shrine:
Monte Cassino Abbey, with his burial
Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, near Orléans, France

Sacro Speco, at Subiaco, Italy
Patron of: Against poison, Against witchcraft, Cavers, Civil engineers, Coppersmiths, Dying people, Erysipelas, Europe, Farmers, Fever, Gall stones, Inflammatory diseases, Italian architects, Kidney disease, Monks, Nettle rash, Schoolchildren, Servants who have broken their master's belongings, Speliologists, Spelunkers, Temptations
Founder of western monasticism, born at Nursia, c. 480; died at Monte Cassino, 543. The only authentic life of Benedict of Nursia is that contained in the second book of St. Gregory's "Dialogues". It is rather a character sketch than a biography and consists, for the most part, of a number of miraculous incidents, which, although they illustrate the life of the saint, give little help towards a chronological account of his career. St. Gregory's authorities for all that he relates were the saint's own disciples, viz. Constantinus, who succeeded him as Abbot of Monte Cassino; and Honoratus, who was Abbot of Subiaco when St. Gregory wrote his "Dialogues".
Benedict was the son of a Roman noble of Nursia, a small town near Spoleto, and a tradition, which St. Bede accepts, makes him a twin with his sister Scholastica. His boyhood was spent in Rome, where he lived with his parents and attended the schools until he had reached his higher studies. Then "giving over his books, and forsaking his father's house and wealth, with a mind only to serve God, he sought for some place where he might attain to the desire of his holy purpose; and in this sort he departed [from Rome], instructed with learned ignorance and furnished with unlearned wisdom" (Dial. St. Greg., II, Introd. in Migne, P.L. LXVI). There is much difference of opinion as to Benedict's age at the time. It has been very generally stated as fourteen, but a careful examination of St. Gregory's narrative makes it impossible to suppose him younger than nineteen or twenty. He was old enough to be in the midst of his literary studies, to understand the real meaning and worth of the dissolute and licentious lives of his companions, and to have been deeply affected himself by the love of a woman (Ibid. II, 2). He was capable of weighing all these things in comparison with the life taught in the Gospels, and chose the latter, He was at the beginning of life, and he had at his disposal the means to a career as a Roman noble; clearly he was not a child, As St. Gregory expresses it, "he was in the world and was free to enjoy the advantages which the world offers, but drew back his foot which he had, as it were, already set forth in the world" (ibid., Introd.). If we accept the date 480 for his birth, we may fix the date of his abandoning the schools and quitting home at about A.D. 500.
Benedict does not seem to have left Rome for the purpose of becoming a hermit, but only to find some place away from the life of the great city; moreover, he took his old nurse with him as a servant and they settled down to live in Enfide, near a church dedicated to St. Peter, in some kind of association with "a company of virtuous men" who were in sympathy with his feelings and his views of life. Enfide, which the tradition of Subiaco identifies with the modern Affile, is in the Simbrucini mountains, about forty miles from Rome and two from Subiaco. It stands on the crest of a ridge which rises rapidly from the valley to the higher range of mountains, and seen from the lower ground the village has the appearance of a fortress. As St. Gregory's account indicates, and as is confirmed by the remains of the old town and by the inscriptions found in the neighbourhood, Enfide was a place of greater importance than is the present town. At Enfide Benedict worked his first miracle by restoring to perfect condition an earthenware wheat-sifter (capisterium) which his old servant had accidentally broken. The notoriety which this miracle brought upon Benedict drove him to escape still farther from social life, and "he fled secretly from his nurse and sought the more retired district of Subiaco". His purpose of life had also been modified. He had fled Rome to escape the evils of a great city; he now determined to be poor and to live by his own work. "For God's sake he deliberately chose the hardships of life and the weariness of labour" (ibid., 1).
A short distance from Enfide is the entrance to a narrow, gloomy valley, penetrating the mountains and leading directly to Subiaco. Crossing the Anio and turning to the right, the path rises along the left face oft the ravine and soon reaches the site of Nero's villa and of the huge mole which formed the lower end of the middle lake; across the valley were ruins of the Roman baths, of which a few great arches and detached masses of wall still stand. Rising from the mole upon twenty five low arches, the foundations of which can even yet be traced, was the bridge from the villa to the baths, under which the waters of the middle lake poured in a wide fall into the lake below. The ruins of these vast buildings and the wide sheet of falling water closed up the entrance of the valley to St. Benedict as he came from Enfide; to-day the narrow valley lies open before us, closed only by the far off mountains. The path continues to ascend, and the side of the ravine, on which it runs, becomes steeper, until we reach a cave above which the mountain now rises almost perpendicularly; while on the right hand it strikes in a rapid descent down to where, in St. Benedict's day, five hundred feet below, lay the blue waters of the lake. The cave has a large triangular-shaped opening and is about ten feet deep. On his way from Enfide, Benedict met a monk, Romanus, whose monastery was on the mountain above the cliff overhanging the cave. Romanus had discussed with Benedict the purpose which had brought him to Subiaco, and had given him the monk's habit. By his advice Benedict became a hermit and for three years, unknown to men, lived in this cave above the lake. St. Gregory tells us little of these years, He now speaks of Benedict no longer as a youth (puer), but as a man (vir) of God. Romanus, he twice tells us, served the saint in every way he could. The monk apparently visited him frequently, and on fixed days brought him food.
During these three years of solitude, broken only by occasional communications with the outer world and by the visits of Romanus, he matured both in mind and character, in knowledge of himself and of his fellow-man, and at the same time he became not merely known to, but secured the respect of, those about him; so much so that on the death of the abbot of a monastery in the neighbourhood (identified by some with Vicovaro), the community came to him and begged him to become its abbot. Benedict was acquainted with the life and discipline of the monastery, and knew that "their manners were diverse from his and therefore that they would never agree together: yet, at length, overcome with their entreaty, he gave his consent" (ibid., 3). The experiment failed; the monks tried to poison him, and he returned to his cave. From this time his miracles seen to have become frequent, and many people, attracted by his sanctity and character, came to Subiaco to be under his guidance. For them he built in the valley twelve monasteries, in each of which he placed a superior with twelve monks. In a thirteenth he lived with "a few, such as he thought would more profit and be better instructed by his own presence" (ibid., 3). He remained, however, the father or abbot of all. With the establishment of these monasteries began the schools for children; and amongst the first to be brought were Maurus and Placid.
The remainder of St. Benedict's life was spent in realizing the ideal of monasticism which he has left us drawn out in his Rule.


SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/B/stbenedictofnursia.asp#ixzz1RnablluW


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