This year All Saints of the Benedictine Order is only a commemoration, due to the Sunday. But most religious orders have both an 'All Saints' and an ‘All Souls' feasts of their Order, and of course the Benedictines too, given the Benedictine origins of the two feasts.
By the late middle ages the Benedictines could lay claim to giving to the Church no less than 24 popes, 200 cardinals, 7,000 archbishops, 15,000 bishops, and over 1,500 canonized saints, not to mention 20 emperors, 10 empresses, 47 kings, and 50 queens.
And of course there are untold numbers of other, unsung saints among its members.
This year, though, above all, I think we should treat as a call to arms, a call for all of us to join the ranks of this vast army of soldiers of Christ led by St Benedict the Great, and take arms in the cause of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, that is, the Church.
The destruction of the churches of Norcia
Over at New Liturgical Movement Peter Kwasniewski has written a moving elegy to the churches of Norcia, birthplace of SS Benedict and Scholastica, all of which were destroyed in the recent earthquakes. Rorate Caeli has a piece also worth reading on this subject.
Now, more than ever, we need new Benedictine saints to arise to lead us.
For that to happen, we need to look within ourselves first of all; to embark on our own program of spiritual building up of the walls, through the cultivation of faith and the performance of good works.
We must, as St Bede the Venerable instructs:
pray assiduously to the Lord for the state of the whole Church throughout the world, according to the example of the Lord's prayer itself, in which one is not bidden to pray for daily bread to be given specifically to oneself, or for one's own sins to be forgiven, or for ones self to be delivered from temptation or wickedness, but rather for all who have the same Father in heaven". (On Ezra and Nehemiah, trans deGregorio).Above, all we should all, to paraphrase St Bede, pray that God might inflame our minds and touch them with his love, so that we can understand and carry out the will of God the Father.