Beheading of St John the Baptist (Aug 29)



In one of those cutesy euphemisms, this feast has been renamed the 'Passion of John the Baptist' in the Ordinary Form.

The martyrology describes it thus:
"The beheading of St. John the Baptist, who was put to death by Herod about the feast of Easter. However, the solemn commemoration takes place today, when his venerable head was found for the second time. It was afterwards solemnly carried to Rome, where it is kept in the church of St. Silvester, near Campo Marzio, and honored by the people with the greatest devotion."
This saint has a particular significance for Benedictines, as when he moved to Monte Cassino, St Benedict built a chapel in honour of St John the Baptist where previously had stood an altar to Apollo.

In many respects St John represents the two sides of the Benedictine charism - in his ascetic life in the desert, he points to the contemplative dimension; in his work preparing the way for Our Lord by calling the people to repentance, the active dimension.

August 29: The beheading of St. John the Baptist



Today is one of the feast days of one of the most important saints in the calendar, St John the Baptist.

This saint has a particular significance for Benedictines, as when he moved to Monte Cassino, St Benedict built a chapel in honour of St John the Baptist where previously had stood an altar to Apollo.

In many respects St John represents the two sides of the Benedictine charism - in his ascetic life in the desert, he points to the contemplative dimension; in his work preparing the way for Our Lord by calling the people to repentance, the active dimension.

The Vespers hymn for the feast is Deus tuorum militum sors.


Ordo for the fifteenth Week after Pentecost



Sunday 28 August –  Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Class II; Commemoration of St Hermes

Matins: Fourth Sunday of August

Lauds: Psalm schema 1 (50, 117, 62); hymn Ecce iam lucis; canticle antiphon and collect, MD 474-5*; for the commemoration, MD [251]

Vespers: Canticle antiphon and collect, MD 474-5*

Monday 29 August - Beheading of St John the Baptist, Class III

Matins: One reading of the feast

Lauds: Festal psalms with antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD [252] ff

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter, versicle and collect of the feast, MD [254] ff

Vespers:  Antiphons of Lauds; psalms from Common of Martyr, MD (36); chapter etc, MD [255] ff

Tuesday 30 August - Class IV; SS Felix and Adauctus, memorial [EF/***in some places, St Rose of Lima]

Collect, MD 474-5*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [257]

For St Rose, see MD 43**

Wednesday 31 August - Class IV [EF: St Raymond Nonnatus]

Collect, MD 474-5*

Thursday 1 September - Class IV [***In some places, St Vibiana; EF: Commemoration of St Giles]

Collect, MD 474-5*

**For St Vibiana: MD 43**

Friday 2 September - Class IV [EF: St Stephen]

Collect, MD 474-5*

Saturday 3 September - St Pius X, Class III [***In some places St Seraphia]

Lauds and Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of the day, with the rest from the Common of a Confessor Bishop, MD (64); collect, MD [258]

Terce to None: Chapter and versicle from the Common; collect, MD [258]

**For St Seraphia, MD 43**

I  Vespers of First Sunday in September, MD 452-3*/Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, MD 475*


August 28: Feast of St Augustine, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor


St. Augustine of Hippo is not of course a Benedictine saint. Still, he was an important influence on St. Benedict and the Western monastic tradition in general.

St Augustine's monastic rules are amongst the earliest surviving monastic rules of the Western Church, and reflect the moderation that St. Benedict was to make central to his Rule. He is also a champion of the combination of learning with faith, another Benedictine quality.

There are many quotes from St. Augustine in the Rule, but one of the most interesting areas of St. Augustine's theological influence in the Rule is in the Tools of Good Works (Chapter Four). The injunction "To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in oneself, but to recognize always that the evil is one's own doing, and to impute it to oneself," reflects St. Augustine's anti-Pelagian approach over the position being advocated at the time by the Eastern-influenced monks of Lerins, and finally resolved at the contemporary Council of Orange in 529.

St Joseph Calasanctius (EF)/St Monica (OF), Aug 27




From the martyrology:

"At Rome, the demise of St. Joseph, confessor, illustrious by the innocence of his life and miracles, who, to instruct youth in piety and letters, founded the Order of the Poor Clerks Regular of the pious Schools of the Mother of God."

In the Extraordinary Form, St Monica's feast is on May 4, however it was moved, in 1970, to the day before the feast of the son, St Augustine, she converted by her tears, prayers and admonitions.

Please pray for the people of Italy and the monks of Norcia

Many will have already heard of the devastating earthquake that hit Italy yesterday.

The death toll is now estimated at over 120 people.

The monks of Norcia were not injured in the earthquake or its many aftershocks, but it seems their monastery and the basilica they serve has suffered some serious structural damage, forcing a temporary move to Rome.

You can help with prayers and donations - for help for the monks, go here.