One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

+ + +

The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

January 21, 2010

For the Feast of Saint Meinrad, Benedictine Martyr

Matthew 10:28-33
James 1:2-4,12

St. Meinrad was a monk of the Benedictine monastery of Reichenau Island on Lake Constance.
Later in life, with the permission of his monastery superior, he went to live as a hermit in a valley in the mountains above Lake Zurich.
He died there at the hands of robbers in the year 863.
Exactly eight hundred years later, in 1663, St. Joseph of Cupertino passed away.
Historically documented crowds numbering hundreds of person had witnessed St. Joseph levitate and even fly about indoors and outdoors.
In 1917, just ninety-three years ago, thousands of persons, including members of the media, witnessed the sun dancing in the sky over Fátima, Portugal, where three children said the Blessed Virgin Mary was visiting them.
By contrast with the hundreds of eyewitness of St. Joseph Cupertino, and the thousands of witnesses at Fátima, when we read about the life of St. Meinrad, we may wonder who reported all the strange things that happened to him as a hermit.
In 1981, government workers digging in the area of St. Meinrad’s hermitage found the remains of wooden shacks in which other hermits lived around the time of St. Meinrad.
It may have been those other hermits who witnessed the strange things that happened when St. Meinrad was at prayer.
Reports remain that when St. Meinrad prayed visible demons attacked him, as if to break his fidelity to prayer.
Even his murder, his martyrdom, was connected with his fidelity to prayer.
While at prayer during Mass, it was shown to him that robbers were coming to kill him and take what little he had, perhaps the chalice and paten for celebrating the Eucharist.
After Mass, instead of running away, St. Meinrad remained at prayer, so that we may say he was “killed in the line of duty”— duty to God in prayer, making St. Meinrad a martyr of prayer.
When the robbers finally arrived, he received them as guests, and told them he knew their plan.
St. Meinrad had committed himself to stay with God by praying and living as a hermit.
Demons, robbers, and murderers failed to stop St. Meinrad’s simple faithfulness to his duty of prayer.
He suffered death in the line of duty.
Ordinary duties in daily life, daily work, and daily relationships are the absolute first step in loving God and surrendering to him.
It is by ordinary things that we begin the intimate and full change and renewal of our whole being— all our opinions, judgments and choices.
We let ourselves be moved and committed to undertake such work because we believe in God’s holiness and loving goodness that he showed and gave us fully in his Son.
Simple faith in God’s surpassing gift to us makes prayer one of our ordinary duties.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2725, tells us:
Prayer is both a gift of grace
and a determined response on our part.
It always presupposes effort.
. . . prayer is a battle.
Against whom?
Against ourselves
and against the wiles of the tempter
who does all he can to turn man away from prayer,
away from union with God.
We pray as we live,
because we live as we pray.
If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ,
neither can we pray habitually in his name.
The “spiritual battle” of the Christian’s new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.
The “spiritual battle” and the “battle of prayer” sound like high drama.
There is enough drama in prayer that is ordinary and faithful— as simple as monks and hermits voicing the Psalms in the Divine Office, as simple as going off by ourselves to pray and reflect as we read the Bible, or, even more, as simple as a child sincerely mouthing the words of the Lord’s Prayer.
The Catechism, 2797, says, “Simple and faithful trust, humble and joyous assurance are the proper dispositions for one who prays the Our Father.”
St. Meinrad went to heaven because he was faithful to God in prayer, and his faithfulness carried over into the ordinary things of daily life.
It could be the same for any of us.

That God Be Glorified in All


Post a Comment

<< Home