Friday, November 13, 2009

All Saints of the Benedictine and Cistercian Orders

Those interested in the Benedictine family may be interested to know that today, within the Benedictine liturgical tradition, is traditionally celebrated the feast of All Saints of the Benedictine Order - In Festo Omnium Sanctorum Ordinis S.P.N. Benedicti. The Cistercians -- who also follow the Rule of St. Benedict -- likewise observe this day for All Saints of their Order. (On a related note, the Benedictines also traditionally observe November 14th as All Souls of their Order. So far as I can tell, the Cistercians did not.)

This is perhaps a pertinent time to recollect the importance of the sons and daughters of St. Benedict -- and monasticism generally -- within the history of Christendom, and to again reflect on the pertinence of the monastic vocation not only in the past but also for the present. Let us support our monasteries, and if you believe you have a calling to priestly or religious life, may I simply encourage you to not neglect the consideration of the monastic vocation in your discernment of God's will for you.

Br. Stephen, O.Cist, has a post on this today and mentions the following hymn found today in the Cistercian breviary, the Breviarium Cisterciense; it was also found on this day in the earlier versions of the Breviarium Monasticum, the breviary of the Benedictines, though it seems that it has been removed by the time of the 1963 edition.

Avete Solitudinis Claustrique Mites

Hail dwellers in the solitude
And in the lowly cloister cell,
Who steadfast and unshaken stood
Against the raging hordes of hell.

All wealth of gold and precious stone
And glories all of rank and birth
You cast away and trampled on,
With all low pleasures of this earth.

The green fields and the orchards grew
The simple fare whereon ye fed.
The brook was drink enough for you,
And on the hard ground was your bed.

Around you dwelt the venomed snakes,
And fiercest monsters harboured near.
All foul forms that the demon takes
You saw, but would not yield to fear.

Far, far beyond all earthly things
Your burning thoughts would wing their flight,
And hear the holy whisperings
Of angels in the heavenly height.

Thou Father of the heavenly host,
Thou glorious Son of Mary maid,
Thou Paraclete, the Holy Ghost,
To Thee be praise and glory paid.

Here is how it sounds.

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