Feast Day: June 19th
We are plunging along in our summer “bible study” with the saints. This week we find ourselves around the year 1000, in the Benedictine monastery of St. Apollinare (near Ravenna, so, a bit North of halfway between Venice and Rome in Italy). The Abbot, Romuald, is putting the finishing touches on his rule. Unlike that of Augustine (used by the Dominicans), or Benedict (Benedictines), or Albert (Carmelites), his rule is found in its entirety below:
Sit in your cell as in paradise.
Put the whole world behind you and forget it.
Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish,
The path you must follow is in the Psalms — never leave it.
If you have just come to the monastery,
and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want,
take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart
and to understand them with your mind.
And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up;
hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more.
Realize above all that you are in God’s presence,
and stand there with the attitude of one who stands
before the emperor.
Empty yourself completely and sit waiting,
content with the grace of God,
like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing
but what his mother brings him.
And that is the whole thing! Might I invite you to pray to the Holy Spirit and read through that again? This is scriptural prayer at its best, and most basic, and if it is enough for Camaldolese Monks, it is probably enough for much of your or my spiritual life too!
Recognize that wherever you are right now, God is close. Paradise is near. Let His quiet fill your heart.
Take up a Psalm, or another line from scripture. Let it sit in your mind. Consider it. Plunge its depths. Return to it. Repeat it slowly. Let the Lord speak to you through it.
Now return to God. He is with you. He loves you. He gazes upon you. Look up at Him. Love Him. Wait on Him. Just be with Him.
Fr. Dominic Rankin usually goes long on these little articles. This week he is taking a card from St. Romuald and keeping it simple. Let Scripture do the work. Let God to the talking. Let your love be carried aloft by Him. God’s “liturgical providence” provides us these words today:
Thus says the Lord God: “I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar, and will set it out; I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it upon a high and lofty mountain; 23 on the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bring forth boughs and bear fruit, and become a noble cedar; and under it will dwell all kinds of beasts; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.”Ez 17:22
It is good to give thanks to the LordPsalm 92:1
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
2 to declare your merciful love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night, …
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord,
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bring forth fruit in old age,
they are ever full of sap and green,
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.Mark 4:30