Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism

11 July -- Lesser Festival -- Religious -- White

Benedict was born in Nursia, central Italy, around the year 480. As a young man he was sent to study in Rome, but was soon appalled by the corruption in society and withdrew to live as a hermit at Subiaco. He quickly attracted disciples and began to establish small monasteries in the neighbourhood. Around the year 525, a disaffected faction tried to poison him so Benedict moved to Monte Cassino with a band of loyal monks. Later in life Benedict wrote his Rule for Monks, based on his own experience of fallible people striving to live out the gospel. He never intended to found an 'order' but his Rule was so good that it was disseminated and widely followed, becoming the model for all western monasticism. Benedict died at Monte Cassino in about the year 550.


Eternal God,
who made Benedict a wise master
in the school of your service
and a guide to many called into community
   to follow the rule of Christ:
grant that we may put your love before all else
and seek with joy the way of your commandments;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Proverbs.

My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures -- then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

This is the word of the Lord.         Proverbs 2. 1-6

Responsorial Psalm

RIncline your heart to understanding
[and find the knowledge of God].
You only are my portion, O Lord;
I have promised to keep your words.
I entreat you with all my heart,
be merciful to me according to your promise. R

I have considered my ways
and turned my feet towards your decrees.
I hasten and do not tarry
to keep your commandments. R

Though the cords of the wicked entangle me,
I do not forget your law.
At midnight I will rise to give you thanks,
because of your righteous judgements. R

I am a companion of all who fear you
and of those who keep your commandments.
The earth, O Lord, is full of your love;
instruct me in your statutes. R         From Psalm 119

A reading from the First letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 Corinthians 3. 10-11

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

A certain ruler asked Jesus, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother.'" He replied, "I have kept all these since my youth." When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Luke 18. 18-22

Post Communion

Merciful God,
who gave such grace to your servant Benedict
that he served you with singleness of heart
and loved you above all things:
help us, whose communion with you
   has been renewed in this sacrament,
to forsake all that holds us back from following Christ
and to grow into his likeness from glory to glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.