Seventh day in the former Octave of St Benedict


Ebersmunster Abbatiale236.JPG
Alsace, Bas-Rhin, Église abbatiale Saint-Maurice d'Ebersmunster
Photo credit: Ralph Hammann


The readings for the old Octave for March 27 were from chapter 21 and 32 of St Gregory's Life of St Benedict.

Reading 1: At another time, there was a great dearth in the same country of Campania: so that all kind of people tasted of the misery: and all the wheat of Benedict's monastery was spent, and likewise all the bread, so that there remained no more than five loaves for dinner. The venerable man, beholding the monks sad, both rebuked them modestly for their pusillanimity, and again comforted them with a promise. "Why," said he, "are you so grieved in your minds for lack of bread? Indeed, today there is some want, but tomorrow you shall have plenty."

And so it fell out, for the next day two hundred bushels of meal were found in sacks before his cell door, which almighty God sent them: but by whom, or what means, that is unknown to this very day: which miracle when the monks saw, they gave God thanks, and by this learned in want, not to make any doubt of plenty.

Reading 2: Being on a day gone out with his monks to work in the field, a country man carrying the corpse of his dead son came to the gate of the Abbey, lamenting the loss of his child: and inquiring for holy Benedict, they told him that he was abroad with his monks in the field. Down at the gate he laid the dead body, and with great sorrow of soul ran in haste to seek out the venerable father. At the same time, the man of God was returning homeward from work with his monks: whom so soon as he saw, he [the country man] began to cry out: "Give me my son, give me my son!"

The man of God, amazed at these words, stood still, and said: "What, have I taken away your son?" "No, no," said the sorrowful father, " but he is dead: come for Christ Jesus' sake and restore him to life."

The servant of God, hearing him speak in that manner, and seeing his monks on compassion to solicit the poor man's suit, with great sorrow of mind he said: "Away, my good brethren, away: such miracles are not for us to work, but for the blessed Apostles: why will you lay such a burden on me, as my weakness cannot bear?" But the poor man, whom excessive grief enforced, would not give over his petition, but swore that he would never depart, except he raisee up his son.

"Where is he, then?" said God's servant.

He answered that his body lay at the gate of the Abbey: to which place when the man of God came with his monks, he kneeled down and lay on the body of the little child, and rising, he held up his hands towards heaven, and said: "Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, that desires to have his son raised to life, and restore that soul to the body, which you have taken away."

He had scarce spoken these words, and behold the soul returned again, and therewith the child's body began to tremble in such sort that all which were present beheld it in strange manner to pant and shake. Then he took it by the hand and gave it to his father, but alive and in health. 

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